Why you should give away your best stuff for free

By Kenda Macdonald | Behaviour & Marketing Psychology

Jun 24

“If I give content away, everyone  will find out our secrets and they won’t need our help anymore”

This is an alarmingly common concern for business owners and content creators. If you give your best stuff away surely they won’t need you? Surely they’ll take what they need and scarper, never to be heard from again?

Thankfully, this isn’t the case. 

The fear of what might be lost doesn’t match the reality of what actually happens.  

You should give away your very best content

In doing so you could grow your business massively (by 290% according to Quicksprout). 

Give away the good stuff and you could increase your conversion rates by 385%...which is just what one of our clients did.

While that all sounds great in theory, you’re worried. 

You’re concerned that if you give your content away, you’ll not only lose your lead’s interest, you’ll enrich the competition. 

If the competition sees it they’ll know why you’re special, and you’ll lose your edge right? 

Worse, handing over the goods means  you’ll have nothing to sell. Your prospects will have solved their problem and they won’t need you anymore. They can do it themselves with your brilliant free information, and you’ll lose that sale. 

Fortunately - none of this is true. While they are all valid concerns, they don’t  hold any weight  in a well executed strategy. 

Instead what you get back when you give away valuable freebies well is worth far more than what you gave away. 

Good freebie giveaways have phenomenal ROI

Let me show you what I mean with something totally left field: tomatoes. 

                                                         

This year we seeded waaaay too many tomatoes. We needed around 150, and ended up germinating around 600. The brilliant spring weather, really good compost and some miraculous green fingers meant we were overwhelmed with plants.

We pondered over what to do with the extra 450 plants… We were in full lock down at this point, and with all the garden centres closed we had a little opportunity on our hands. We could sell them and turn a little profit (or at least make back the money spent on pots and compost). Or we could give them away, ask for a donation to the cost of compost and for the pots back. 

The business head said sell them, my notoriously soft heart said give them away. 

In the end we decided to give them away, and it was the best choice we could have made. 

The deciding factor was simply that we did not get enough foot traffic past our cottage in the middle of nowhere to warrant selling. If we gave them away more would make their way into people’s gardens as word spread. So we put some trays out, with a little sign and hoped for the best.

                                                            

Boy were we in for a surprise. 

We  couldn’t have anticipated how much we got in return. 

Every single plant went to its new forever home. We  made £4 in donations and we didn’t even get all our pots back. 

What we got was so much better. 

We’re new-ish to the area. As workaholics we don’t get out much. But boy did the tomato news make the rounds. Within two days the first 200 had been snatched up. Neighbours came to introduce themselves and bring us gifts.  People who would usually smile politely and carry on their way past our house started stopping for chats and tomato updates. 

When our little neighbourhood was saturated, I posted on a local social page about it. It went nuts. 

The foot traffic to our little area increased massively as people came from the surrounding areas to fetch the free plants. Some of the plants went as far as Scotland and we met a ridiculous amount of new people. 

And just like our neighbours, they insisted that we have something in return.

Here is a sampling of what we got in return: 

  • So. Many. Plants - lots of people brought weird and wonderful things they thought we would like, as well as things we didn’t have in our veggie patch (including walking onions!). We’re talking over 40 different types of plants
  • Loads of packets of weird and wonderful seeds
  • Magic compost - beautiful special compost that’s been brewing for two years to a secret recipe
  • Many manure offers to collect whenever we like (gardens need poop so this makes me happy)
  • An ongoing supply of home-pressed apple juice
  • Private garden and estate invites for when lock down lifts
  • Dinner and fireworks invites
  • Duck eggs (and ducklings for when we’re ready)
  • Terracotta pots 
  • Two reels of extra hose 
  • Twine and rope
  • Straw for mulching 

All of those things are lovely, but the best thing of all is the friendships (don’t vomit on your keyboard - it’s true!).

The friendships are the big deal here because that’s what you should be looking for with your free content: relationships. 

It’s the trust building aspect that is the gold.

Trust cannot be bought

Look at our tomato giveaway from a marketing angle. We got strangers to know, like and trust us. 

People approached us to talk and reciprocate. We brought extra traffic to our veggie patch that never would have come here in the first place. We created goodwill in the community that we are still reaping the rewards of. We got a serious and long reaching return on our investment.

Trust and relationships lead to sales. That’s the value that you get in return. That’s what giving away your best stuff for free will do. None of that would have happened had we charged for our little tomatoes. We would have sold a handful, and the rest would have gone to the compost heap. 

How giving away our best free content brings us sales

Here’s something a little closer to home. Last year I wrote a book. It’s effectively a full structure of all the parts of the customer journey you need to get better quality leads,  better customers and higher CLV - and how to do it in your marketing automation. All validated with the neuroscience behind why we need that part of the process. It’s everything you need to understand what should go into your own process and why. 

It’s my best stuff. 

You could easily buy the book for under twenty quid  and make it happen yourself. 

Instead people reach out and say: 

“I know what my problem is. I know how to solve it. I just want you and your team to do it for me.” 

It’s amazing. I love it when that happens because it means that the content of the book has established the relationship. It has allowed them to get to know, like and trust me. They know what I stand for, and they know what results they can expect - they just want us to help them do it. 

                                                    high five tom cruise GIF by STARZ

The benefits of giving content away for free

At the end of the day giving away content is hugely beneficial. When you do it right it will provide you with authority and positioning. It proves you know your stuff and are who you say you are. 

It’s also vital to the sales process: 81% of people conduct research before they buy something.

People need content to help them decide. And they need it before they are ready to reach out to you: 47% of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. 

We managed to achieve a 385% increase in conversion rates for a client by dripping regular free and engaging content to his audience.

So if you don’t produce great content and give it away, you’re missing out on the 81% of consumers who are researching what to buy and from whom. 

Google calls this the Zero Moment of truth - the point at which consumers turn to the internet for answers. 

When people do this, they are trying to validate their problem and find the best solution. Your content should be there, ready and waiting. Then you let it do the leg work for you. 

Let your free stuff build trust and build the relationship. Let it show them the value you offer. And if you do it strategically, let it educate them so that they are a better quality lead. 

Here are a couple of tips. Your free content should: 

  1. Be valuable and solve a real problem
  1. Educate and make your lead a better quality lead
  1. Move your lead through their awareness stages 
  1. Get you lead information you wouldn’t otherwise have
  1. Cue your lead up for the next step in the process: purchasing from you

Done properly, your very best free content will: 

  • Demonstrate your value
  • Show proof and results
  • Address fears and concerns
  • Answer questions and objections 
  • Find the right leads for your business
  • Encourage sharing and spread of your ideas (and you)
  • Position you ahead of your competition 
  • Boost your social presence
  • Build brand loyalty through interaction 
  • Carve out your spot in the marketplace, and in their minds

So you can take control, help your prospects and help yourself - or you can leave that up to someone else and see where that gets them. 

Why leave that up to your competition? Take control and make sure you have the best free content possible - and give it away. 

Creating a strategy that will give you the tools to build relationships that matter is critical for your business growth. Book a free strategy call and for 30 minutes of your time walk away with a bespoke strategy to make this happen for your success. 

Here's some awesome free stuff for you

The Marketing Therapy Session is a 30 minute session of strategy from experts. You settle in for an half an hour pow wow and get a PDF packed full of bespoke strategy for your business.


It's a brilliant freebie. Snatch it up.

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