Why giving something for free

21 replies
I always read where people say we need to give people something for free in order to get there e-mail address so we can try and sell them things.

But I wonder why, Is it because we have small sites and need give them some incentive to get and keep people on our sites. Does it mater what kind of site we have.

I go to big sites all the time for many different kinds of things and never see anyone giving anything away. When giving something away what do we give, are we just giving some kind of information our potential customers don't have.
#free #giving
  • Profile picture of the author JosephC
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    • Profile picture of the author wiifm
      I agree with Joe, why miss the chance to make a buck or two and guarantee you fill your list with people who are potential buyers instead of freebie seekers?

      By the way, the templates he is offering free are AWESOME!
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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        Originally Posted by wiifm View Post

        why miss the chance to make a buck or two
        Because some of the people I'll lose, if I start by trying to make a buck or two off them, will opt in for free and then buy plenty of things later for many hundreds of dollars.

        Originally Posted by wiifm View Post

        and guarantee you fill your list with people who are potential buyers instead of freebie seekers?
        I still get the potential buyers by not trying to make a buck or two, to start with. I don't mind having some freebie-seekers along with them. That doesn't really cost me anything. And some of those "freebie-seekers" will actually turn out to be paying customers after all, when they see what I have to offer, and to recommend.

        I don't need to know, up-front, who's a buyer (for $1 or $2) and who's a freebie-seeker.

        That doesn't make any difference to me. Why should it?

        The potential buyers are still potential buyers if they opt in free
        , instead of for $1 or $2. Letting them in free doesn't prevent anyone from becoming a potential buyer. You take my point, perhaps? There's no real downside but plenty of potential upside, by letting them in free.

        .
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  • Profile picture of the author natas105
    You give them something to get excited about, basically. You want them to want more and that's when you can start your email follow ups and the sales process.
    It doesn;t mater how big or small your niche or site is, the most important thing you want them to do when they visit your website, is to get them on your list. If they leave without signing up on your list, they are gone forever. (generally speaking)

    Of course you can start selling to them straight away, but I guess it depends what your vision of doing business is. There are pros and cons for both ways of list building.
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  • Profile picture of the author joomdev
    I find that if you help people out for free they always are generous in return. I’m going to give you a great example of how I did this in the online marketing space. Everyone is afraid of “black hat” marketers stealing their products, spending time to protect their work. I actually decided to do the exact opposite.
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  • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
    Giving away something for free can function as a way to presell an offer you are promoting.

    If you provide value for free, and people trust you then they are more likely to buy from you. That's why people build a funnel with a free offer in order to make sales in their follow up.

    It works, that's why people do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author gcbmark20
    Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

    I always read where people say we need to give people something for free in order to get there e-mail address so we can try and sell them things.

    But I wonder why, Is it because we have small sites and need give them some incentive to get and keep people on our sites. Does it mater what kind of site we have.

    I go to big sites all the time for many different kinds of things and never see anyone giving anything away. When giving something away what do we give, are we just giving some kind of information our potential customers don't have.

    Hi,

    It's all about the K.L.T. factor...

    ...KNOW, LIKE & TRUST!!!

    Do your subscribers know, like & trust you?

    Once these 3 pillars are in place the need to have to sell, sell, sell
    isn't required.

    It is all about the RESPONSE you get from your subscribers.

    All the best,

    Gavin
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  • Profile picture of the author SEO Power
    Giving something away to get an opt in is one of the best ways to grow your list. There will always be freebie seekers, but if you can grow a list the right way and garner more potential customers than freebie speakers, you'll be on track to profiting massively from your list.
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  • Profile picture of the author ZephyrIon
    Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

    I always read where people say we need to give people something for free in order to get there e-mail address so we can try and sell them things.

    But I wonder why, Is it because we have small sites and need give them some incentive to get and keep people on our sites. Does it mater what kind of site we have.

    I go to big sites all the time for many different kinds of things and never see anyone giving anything away. When giving something away what do we give, are we just giving some kind of information our potential customers don't have.
    Arbitrage.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Actually it's called the "Law of Reciprocity".

      When you give something free, the person who receives it is psychologically obligated to return the favor in some way down the line. Like take their guard down, like you, or even buy your product.

      The only thing changing now is people are getting blind, even more skeptical to the word "Free" more than ever. So, if you give something free, it better be of high quality.

      Remember, whatever you give for free will still reflect on you, your main product and your business. It's often better to give no free gift at all, rather than give a cheap one. Trust me.

      This should be your goal and prospects general reaction when giving something for free: ... "If this is what he gives for free, the product or service he charges for must be amazing!" If not you blew it.

      Here's a article I just read that explains the "Law of Reciprocity" when it comes to Business. Check it out!

      "How The Law of Reciprocity Can Make or Break Your Business!"
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  • Profile picture of the author Oliver Hart
    Hi.

    A really good question, and you have got several decent answers, as well.

    I agree on the answers you have gotten, but I have another view on this. Probably, because my background as an offline marketer in the brick and mortar world.

    When you want to sell a product to a "cold" customer you need to show him/her the same offer many times. Old marketing books say about eight times, more than less.

    This is the reason you see an ad in a magazine or newspaper over and over again, hear commercial several times on radio, or see the same commercial in a TV ad repeatedly.

    This is a very expensive way of doing marketing leaving the field wide open to the big dogs.

    Another way of doing the same, in a much inexpensive way, is via e-mail marketing. You find a legal way of collecting your potential customer e-mail address, and you promote the same offer over and over again until he buys or leaves you in the dust :-)

    One way not to piss off the potential customer is to build trust via giving valuable info as well as promoting your product in a good mix.

    The reason you don't see the big dogs doing this, as you point out, can be because they don't know how or the value of it yet, or because they feel they don't need to. They have the money to promote in old fashioned way.

    Don't forget that direct marketer is at least one or two horse-heads ahead of ordinary sales organisations.

    Most people in here know a lot more about direct respond marketing then the big companies do, and I bet that in some year henceforth you will see big companies give away cheep psychical products in exchange for the customer's e-mail address. That is at least my prediction for the future.
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    • Profile picture of the author WilliamVillagran
      I think the real reason you give something away to someone is to show them that you can deliver value to them before you begin to sell them items.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by Oddvar Meyer View Post

      Hi.

      The reason you don't see the big dogs doing this, as you point out, can be because they don't know how or the value of it yet, or because they feel they don't need to. They have the money to promote in old fashioned way.
      Actually, you are seeing more and more fortune 500 companies using freebies to persuade people to try their core products and services. You just have to know where to look. Obviously most will not have their freebie or samples directly on their website competing with their sales (although some might). Most outsource them to other companies or sites to handle.

      Here's a Video Example:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9AwxJvAXI4#t=52
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by Oddvar Meyer View Post

      Hi.

      The reason you don't see the big dogs doing this, as you point out, can be because they don't know how or the value of it yet, or because they feel they don't need to. They have the money to promote in old fashioned way.
      Actually, you are seeing more and more fortune 500 companies using freebies to persuade people to try their core products and services. You just have to know where to look. Obviously most will not have their freebie or samples directly on their website competing with their sales (although some might). Most outsource them to other companies or sites to handle.

      Here's an article example: 7 Best Companies That Offer You Free Samples
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      Download "Free 80 Page E-Book"
      "201 Ways To Live Better On Less Money".
      "Because The Easiest Way To Make Money is ... ... By Saving Some First!"
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  • Profile picture of the author brutecky
    Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

    I always read where people say we need to give people something for free in order to get there e-mail address so we can try and sell them things.
    People incorrectly say this is giving someone something for free. But its really not. The people are 'paying' with their email address. Its a trade, barter, and is not free. That being said I personally like doing low cost product sales over giving a freebie.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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      Originally Posted by brutecky View Post

      People incorrectly say this is giving someone something for free.
      I'm not so sure about the "incorrectly": I think in this context, people are simply using the word "free" - by common convention - to mean "without money changing hands" (rather than "without anything of potential value changing hands").
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  • Profile picture of the author Avocado Plugins
    Yes this definitely could be argued both way because you cold be giving away things for free and potentially collecting people's addresses who are not willing to pay but just want more free stuff - on the other hand if you just ask them for the email then your percentage might drop for optin but they will be a bit more targeted.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

    I always read where people say we need to give people something for free in order to get there e-mail address so we can try and sell them things.

    But I wonder why, Is it because we have small sites and need give them some incentive to get and keep people on our sites. Does it mater what kind of site we have.
    It isn't because you have a small site. It's because no one knows who you are. Giving someone a sample of what you can offer before asking for money is a way to get past that, build the know, like and trust factor, and even build some of the reciprocity NicheMan mentioned.

    One reason it may not make sense to an observer is that so many marketers get it wrong. They make the freebie the whole focus of the opt-in offer, rather than a sample or bonus.

    Next time you go to a mall, visit the food court. Odds are, at least one of the vendors will be offering small bits of food to taste. Some of the people who take the sample will decide to buy their meal from that vendor. If the meal is good enough, they'll buy from that vendor again and again.

    Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

    I go to big sites all the time for many different kinds of things and never see anyone giving anything away. When giving something away what do we give, are we just giving some kind of information our potential customers don't have.
    No, most of the big sites aren't hawking free reports and such, because that isn't their business. Most are more subtle about it.

    > Are they running a contest or sweeps? You need to give them an email to enter.

    > Do they have a "birthday club" or "fan club" that promises a freebie for joining? You need to give them an email to enter.

    > Even mighty Amazon will let you read the first 10% of just about any ebook they sell - but you have to have an Amazon account. Which requires an email address.

    Bottom line, it's plain physics that it's easier to keep a body in motion than to get it started in the first place. Offering the right freebie takes away a lot of friction and reduces the effort need to get that body in motion.
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  • Profile picture of the author sujit1717
    The problem with freebies is that people think that it is cheap quality product if it is free
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Here's a crazy notion . . .

      What if your prospects were so targeted

      and your message was oozing over with quality and value

      and you offered exactly the thing that the prospect was looking for

      and the prospect was pleading with you - begging you to send him more.

      All you would have to do is suggest a way to get on your list.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
    There's a fine line.

    Free stuff can help get people on your list but you have to be careful you aren't just getting freebie seekers or "anyone and everyone" who aren't much use to you.

    You want targeted subscribers who will go on to buy from you.

    So when giving away something free make sure the core reason for people joining your list isn't just to get something free.
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