This post is about offering something free to visitors who subscribe to your email marketing list.
If you’ve been hanging out on the web for a bit, chances are you’ve visited a website that offers something to download for free. But before you get your thing-y, you must provide your name & email address.
Open For Business
Many people believe that once their website is built, their customers will come. Like putting up a huge banner on a storefront that says, “OPEN FOR BUSINESS.”
Then we sit around, watching our phones, inboxes and wonder… where all my perfect customers?
It gets quiet and stays quiet.
And so we, really me (I’ll cut the crap, cough it up and admit that all the we’s are really me’s) begin re-reading and re-writing web copy, install Google Analytics so we I can see exactly what is not happening down at our my electronic storefront and since we’re I was busy being busy—doing business-related stuff—it felt like work.
Busy work. Not busy-getting-paid work. Sigh.
Now leaving Corporate America, welcome to Oz
This is when it dawned on me that I wasn’t in Experian Kansas any longer.
I wasn’t building huge e-commerce web sites where the audience was captive.
Meaning, most of the bill-paying population needed/wanted their credit report, at some point in their adult lives.
Back in Kansas, people were basically signing on, clicking buy and boom! Transaction. Conversion. Ding Ding! Dollar signs. Like millions of them. And the product itself (at the time) only cost something like $12.95.
How did they do that? Or rather, how do I do that?
Understanding your business
Here’s the thing… before I went running down the path of “how do I do that?,” I really needed to understand the kind of business I had.
Because I’m not selling credit reports here. Neither are you.
Most entrepreneurs are selling something else, but it’s not a widget or gadget that needs to be manufactured and shipped. And it’s often something whose results can’t easily be measured, with analytics and facts.
In terms of what an entrepreneur is selling, there is a before and after. There is something to measure. It’s just not going to easily fall out in black & white on your computer screen by doing a S.W.O.T. analysis.
Knowing what you’re selling as an entrepreneur is super important. What it is, who it’s for, how it helps.
Knowing what you’re selling helps you speak it clearly. And clarity is resonation.
Resonation (with words) is like goose bumps, without the actual goose bumps.
It grabs your attention.
And when you can write this way, you’ll have all the business your heart can hold. I think it’s important to mention the heart here because I believe everyone can learn to write and connect in this authentic way.
Since we all have hearts. 🙂
Understanding what exactly you sell
Sound bite Shaman Isabel Parlett was one of the first people I remember experiencing this level of resonation while reading her web content.
When I discovered her, I had recently slung together the first few words to describe myself & what I offered to the world. I could feel that my message needed polishing & refinement. There was a way to make things clearer, for my clients and for me too!
And Isabel promised to help me find the words to rock the world. And she also helped me understand that the kind of business I had was not like Experian at all.
Entrepreneurs online today sell the realization of a dream. If you are any kind of coach or consultant (or solopreneur), you sell transformation.
Which is not a credit report with a captive audience. Which is why figuring out how to apply what Experian was doing, so I could do it, wasn’t really the best approach.
In order to get your inbox/phone to blow up with requests to be transformed or realize a personal or professional dream, it really takes establishing a few critical things before someone is ready to do that kind of work with you.
Trust. Expertise. A clear definition of what they can expect to get working with you.
And the most frequently overlooked element in the beginning, and a biggie, is learning to clearly identify and write about the transformation-seekers problem(s). What’s stuck for them? And how can you freely give or demonstrate the type of value you can add to their life or business or that helps them realize a dream?
Transformation has a much longer sales cycle. Not visit, click, buy, ka-ching!
Learning this difference was huge for me and my business. And how I wrote everything, from that point forward, was affected.
Helping your customers understand your value offerings
How does an entrepreneur build trust & demonstrate her expertise? With a free value-add giveaway. It’s for helping transformation-seekers or your perfect customers, cross that “transformation services” chasm—that one between Visit and Buy.
It’s for helping your perfect customers get a feeling for the work that you do, in a very low-risk way.
It’s for building your brand and establishing your expertise.
It’s a place for putting their problems or challenges down in writing (so they can see themselves) and for you to help them solve them.
Part of the process when you create a web presence will involve building a marketing list. Your community of perfect customers.
The most common method we see online is to install a widget in your sidebar that captures a name and email address.
And to further the interest in becoming a member of your community, there’s the familiar offer of a free pdf download. A taste before you buy.
I’ve had some great experience with creating lists and offering freebies in this way. At one point, there were up to three free pdf downloads I offered, and nearly everyday, someone downloaded one (or all three).
In essence, if you create your freebie… they will come.
A couple of questions to get you started thinking about creating your own freebie:
- What is already right under your nose that you take for granted or think is silly or not good enough? I’m flashing a neon sign at it right now. It says “Look Here.”
- Coaches & consultants are often teachers also. We present our ideas to others & help implement them. If it’s easier to talk/teach, consider offering a teleclass & record it. 60-minutes will do ya. Then transcribe the recording.
- If you already have a blog, write a blog post series on something specific about your subject of expertise. This is also called a List Post and is one of the best strategies for getting your ebook written, one post at a time. And it’s how my own ebook Web Presence Essentials began.
Is this you?
“I have no idea where to begin with creating my freebie. None!”
“I have a few ideas, but haven’t really finalized them.”
“I’ve got my freebie written and ready to go, I just need help getting it integrated into my web presence & delivered to my community (via my email marketing list).
“I want to understand what tools you used, get help using my own tools so I can begin/finish writing my own ebook.”
Then it sounds like you may be ready for some WordPress & online business consulting with me »
“I want a web presence so I can have a place to put my stuff: freebies, ebooks & otherwise.”
“My web presence is a mess Mynde. I need your expert help with evaluating everything I’ve been up to and/or how to do it better or shift into a new direction.”
You’re probably ready for a Strategic Website Review » (coming soon!)