Why you should give stuff away for free

The other day, I mentioned that you could offer some free advice to your clients in your blog.

For some people, that’s just crazy talk.  Surely you should be charging for advice?  What on earth would people pay you for if they can get the same advice from your blog?

Good point – let me elaborate.

I’m not saying that you outline your entire business knowledge in a few blog posts but if you can show some knowledge by giving some advice and that advice works for something then you’re building some trust, and a potential customer is much more likely to buy from you if they trust you.  The aim is to get a customer thinking – “well, they have a blog full of knowledegable insights and they’re giving away free advice that’s proven to work  – this guy (or girl) knows what they’re talking about.  I wonder what they can do for me with the stuff that they’re not giving away for free”.  Far fetched?  Maybe, but maybe not and business is all about opening potential avenues for your sales.

Let me give you a small example (this is the anecdote bit that I mentioned in the same post).  I got an email from someone looking for some SEO on their website.  I did a quote and gave them a call.  It turned out that the quote was too expensive for their budget but I spent ten minutes chatting with the guy – he knew nothing about SEO and was unsure about why it all seemed so unclear and nobody could promise anything.  The next day he emailed me to ask another question (which I answered) so already the trust is built up – he trusts my advice and sees me as an expert.  I have no idea if he went with another SEO company or just gave up on SEO for his site altogether – but when he does have a decent budget to spend on it, I have no doubt that he’ll come back to me because he trusts me.

Free advice doesn’t really cost you anything – it’s not going to lose you a client but it may well win you clients somewhere down the line.  Take the long term view!

Gregor Spowart is a partner in Mass Media Design, a website design and Internet Marketing company based in Reading (Berkshire), Swindon (Wiltshire) and Cardiff.  Gregor is an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) specialist.