To sell or not to sell.
That is the question that many marketers struggle with. Which content do you want to sell? And which content do you want to give away for free?
There are obvious benefits to both sides of the coin.
That’s the problem.
It’s been proven that giving away information is smart and profitable. We also know there’s good money in selling information.
So where do you draw the line in the sand?
Is it possible to give away too much? Conversely, your paid content better be worth it. The last thing you want are people giving you their hard earned money only to bitterly request a refund.
Or even worse, tarnishing your reputation with negative feedback.
I’ve personally struggled with this question, as you may have. That’s why I was so relieved to come across a fantastic article by the folks at Copyblogger that lays it all out there.
Here’s what you need to know when it comes to paid and free content:
The reason you are putting together all these free articles, podcasts, videos, and presentations, is that you want to attract an audience that grows your business.
With that in mind, here are some benefits that free content can provide for you and the types of content that you should share:
Free content can attract your specific target audience
We want more people — specifically our most sought-after prospects — to be aware of us. Of those, we want as many as possible to keep coming back, and to opt-in to our email.
Free content can encourage sharing your ideas
In addition to attracting people who might become loyal members of your audience, you also want those people to bring friends.
Free content can inform the audience of your value
What is the problem that you solve? What can you help them achieve?
It’s going to be tough to get people to pay money before they know what you can do for them!
Free content can give a “free taste” that builds desire for the full meal
When your business makes money by selling advice or information, it is a good idea for your prospects to get some early results.
This allows them to build trust with you so that they feel confident that your more in-depth or advanced information will also deliver on your promises.
People will pay for in-depth, step-by-step guidance
In general, your free content is going to be a collection of granular, randomly organized pieces of the puzzle.
People will happily pay to be given the whole thing wrapped up in convenient packaging — even if the information was previously available for free.
People will pay for access and tailored advice
It doesn’t matter how complete you think you have made your education, it only serves as better proof that you are the person who can best help.
People will pay for exclusivity
Of course people will always want the secrets or to be “an insider” … especially if these secrets will give them an unfair advantage over competitors.
People will pay for experiences
It’s an often-shared piece of advice, but it is true: People will forget what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel.
What you should never give away
Free content shouldn’t be too complete
Don’t be tempted to answer every question or to answer questions too completely.
Free content shouldn’t reveal too much of the “how”
Free information should focus more on the “what” and the “why,” rather than go deep into the “how.”
Free content shouldn’t require hard work by the reader
People will put in effort once they are sure there will be a substantial pay off.