Having a free report, ebook, audio recording (CD or MP3), start up kit, etc. is a fabulous way to give a “taste” of you to potential clients and help you to build your list. It’s a no-obligation, non threatening means of letting others get to know you before buying…but if you’re getting people to opt in for your freebie and then you don’t hear from them again, it’s time to take a hard look at what you’re giving away.
This giveaway is often the first impression of you and your service. I’m sure you’ve seen them before: “Claim your free guide to…” or “Get your free report that will…” and often includes a free subscription to an electronic newsletter or ezine (a great way to stay in touch). These freebies are invaluable to share your expertise without any risk on the prospect’s part – when you do it correctly.
Consider these 5 factors to ensure your freebie is not costing you sales.
#1. Is the giveaway presented professionally? Does it exude top-notch quality in design and layout?
I’m sure you’ve heard it before – first impressions count. This is not the time to cut corners and just “get it done.” If it’s a PDF download you’re offering, be sure a professional graphic designer has beautified it to match your branding. Include a cover page, a table of contents, photographs, charts, or other images, your bio and photograph, and of course, a link back to your Web site.
If you’re giving a free CD or audio download, make sure you have a professionally designed image of the CD cover. And if it’s a video, again, make it look and sound professional.
#2 Is the content new and informative?
Consider all the questions you’re repeatedly asked about your industry. If you keep hearing the same questions, people aren’t finding the answers – you can become a provider of good information. What’s new in your industry? How is the economy affecting your products and services? How can you tie what you do into something happening in your community? When you offer good information, people will be eagerly awaiting to see what you offer next.
#3 Are you only providing a promo piece (in other words a blatant advertisement for your services) or will the reader be able to use the information in some way?
This is the worst! You give your name and email address to someone in the hopes you’ll receive the promised insights you’ve been searching for…and all you get is a lame pitch to pay big bucks to find the answers. This is NOT something you want to do. It is okay to give away the good stuff! Potential clients will be thrilled you’ve helped them and think if you’re giving this away, I can only imagine what I’ll get when I work with her.
#4 Is it easy to understand? Consider that your reader may not be familiar with the lingo of your industry.
Remember, you’re helping your prospect here. When you’re so involved in your “industry” you can become too close to what you’re delivering and not see it for what it really is – a confusing mishmash that hinders your efforts. It may be a good idea to have someone outside your industry read/view your freebie and fix anything that needs clarifying. Watch out for industry abbreviations and lingo that are meaningless to anyone outside your circles. Write at a grade 7 or 8 level and keep words, sentences, and paragraphs short.
#5 Do you have a follow up system to share more information and lead the prospect to make a decision that working with you is a priority?
Use an autoresponder system that works for you, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact. Set up an email system where you give further tips and insights and a small call to action. Create a strategic plan to stay in touch so you can engage, connect, and build trust – you know it as increasing the “know, like, and trust” factor.
When your giveaway is read – or listened to – they should say “wow…this free information is so great I can’t wait to see what I’ll get when I work with her.” So, check your numbers. How many people have received your giveaway and what is the sales conversion? If the number is low, take a hard look at their first impression of you.
And if you aren’t giving anything away…now is the time to start. Include an opt-in form at the top of every page of your Web site, which shares why readers would want it. Make it enticing. Make it interesting. Make it a logical first step to working with you.