They say the best things in life are free, but does that apply to marketing? As it turns out, it kind of does.
Free digital products or other freebies can be a great way to increase leads and boost your overall business. But, there are some downsides, too. Let’s go over what you should know about using digital freebies for your business.
The benefits of offering free digital products
People love free stuff. A lot of people will grab something just because it’s free, and that’s especially true of digital products.
Obviously, you can’t give away your entire product for nothing. But, you can give a lot away for free without losing revenue or customers.
A digital freebie doesn’t take up any space and doesn’t require the user to jump through any hoops. It’s free, useful content. Along with getting something for free, some other benefits for your audience are:
- Can create heightened level of interest and engagement with your brand
- Increased word-of-mouth for your brand. If somebody finds your freebie useful, they’ll likely share with others.
If you share your freebies correctly, you can get it in front of a large audience. This can be compounded by your audience amplifying this on social media.
The disadvantages of freebies
Using digital freebies can also be detrimental if used incorrectly. Here are a few of those disadvantages.
Turning away potential customers
Your freebies could potentially turn away paying customers if you give away too much free stuff. You do ultimately want to drive sales. This is especially relevant if you’re a knowledge entrepreneur who is selling information.
If you keep giving away free content left and right, you’ll soon find you’re giving away some of your most valuable content. Then people won’t have a reason to buy from you. After all, they already have the good stuff.
This can happen even if you’re not giving away your best material. If you give away free content often, people will just get used to it and eventually expect it. Buying from you will be the last thing on their minds.
Not creating a sense of value
Another disadvantage is that people could undervalue you. If your freebies aren’t good, it’s easy for people to assume your paid content or products won’t be, either.
Inviting unlikely prospects who just want free stuff
There’s one last big disadvantage that deserves mentioning: freeloaders. You’ll inevitably get people who only want to take the freebie and run.
That’s to be expected anytime you offer something for free. It is something you should be aware of before you start handing out any freebies.
What to give away for free
What type of content should you give away for free? You can technically give away anything for free. But, there are certain kinds of freebies that have been proven to work time and time again.
Freebie Option #1: Lead Magnet
The first freebie type is the lead magnet. The term “lead magnet” itself refers to a broad category of digital content that ranges from ebooks to checklists and beyond.
For many people, this is what they think of when they think of a digital freebie.
Generally speaking, a lead magnet is any content that you give to your audience in exchange for their information. This information is usually their email address.
Lead magnets are usually deliverables, like a PDF, but they can also be non-deliverables, like a streaming video or an online quiz.
Some of the more common types of leads magnets include:
- Whilte papers
- Swipe files
- Training videos
- Case studies.
What kind of lead magnet should I create for my business?
Generally, any of the above options will work well, but some of them will make more sense for your business. It largely depends on the product or service you’re offering.
For example, if you’re an educational business, then ebooks, workbooks, and webinars would all be good choices.
On the other hand, if you offer one-on-one training, it might make more sense to use a checklist or planner.
Freebie Option #2: Free Trial
Another option is to provide a free trial for new customers. If you want to offer a free trial, you need to know the pros and cons. Ultimately, the free trial approach isn’t right for every business.
First, let’s look at the benefits of offering a free trial.
Arguably the biggest benefit is increased lead generation. Take a look at a typical sales funnel:
When someone signs up for a free trial, they go all the way to the evaluation stage.
After all, the reason people are signing up for your trial is to see what your product is like. These people are already aware of your product and interested in it, which is exactly why they’re taking it out for a spin.
By giving away a free trial, you can connect potential leads with the exact product they’re thinking about buying. And even if people don’t end up buying right away, they’ll still be on your list, allowing you to retarget them.
All in all, providing a free trial is a great way of fast-tracking your lead conversion process, but there are some caveats (more on that later).
Another benefit is trust building. Ultimately, people want to support amazing products. When people know that a company has a good product, they’ll trust the company.
But if that product is behind a paywall, it can be difficult for users to know whether they should invest in it.
With a free trial, you’re giving away something valuable that costs absolutely nothing. That gesture is an excellent way to build trust. It shows that you’re willing to give people a peek behind the curtain so they can see if your product is a good fit for their needs.
Last but not least, offering a free trial is easy.
With a lead magnet, you need to create an entirely new resource from scratch. But with a free trial, you simply give away your product for a limited time or you give away a part of it.
You already have your product, so giving people temporary access is super easy. You don’t need to spend the additional time to create something new. While this might not be a dealbreaker for anyone, it’s good to keep in mind, especially if you embrace the startup philosophy of testing everything.
For instance, you might have a great lead magnet, but you might get more leads with a free trial. Or not––which is why you have to experiment.
The downside of a free trial
Free trials aren’t perfect. For one, you’ll get some people who will take the trial with no intention of buying from you. Some people may even abuse this. In most cases, this will only be a small percentage, but it’s still something you have to expect.
Another potential disadvantage can occur if you give away your entire product for free.
Say you’re selling an online course. If you give away your whole course, people could rush through it before the free trial is over. You can combat this by only giving part of your course away, setting time limits on the material, or creating a free course with the sole intention of giving it away.
Depending on the type of product you have, your approach will look a little different, but you want to keep this concept at the front of your mind. You don’t want to give away too much.
Freebie Option #3: Consultation
You could also offer a free consultation. It’s most common for businesses in marketing, education, or fitness to offer consultations.
Consultations are ideal if you want to speak directly to potential customers and get insight into their needs and desires. You get incredibly valuable one-on-one time with your audience and they get individualized attention from you.
Consultations also offer a smooth transition into buying. Even a gentle reminder at the end of the consultation can often be enough.
The major downside here is the time requirement. Consultations require you to schedule blocks out of your week to talk to people who may or may not end up buying from you. That means if you’re booked full, you may find it difficult to be able to offer consultations.
How to create your free digital product
Once you’ve determined why you’re offering a freebie and what kind of free product you want to offer, you have to actually create it. If it’s a lead magnet, there are a variety of tools available to help you build your own or outsource the creation to others.
For example, you can use the Kajabi platform to create digital products to give away. Kajabi Products makes it simple to bring your expertise to life as a digital product. This could be as an ebook, free video training and more.
Why Kajabi offers a free trial
You may have also realized that we at Kajabi offer a free trial. This strategy is in line with our company and the services we offer.
Kajabi is a robust, all-in-one platform for your Knowledge Commerce business. For some, it’s too much of an ask to pay before getting a chance to explore all the features like online course creation, website creation, email management and more. We chose to offer the free trial because we wanted every knowledge entrepreneur to get firsthand experience with our software before having to pay any money.
Our freebie really aligns with the products we offer and our overall business model. Make sure your freebies do, too.