free During our most  recent webinar , one participant asked, does every offer you have on your website have to be "free"? The answer is no, but there are a lot of benefits to giving things away to your prospects. Here are a few:

Lower the friction to lead conversion.

The first rule of lead conversion is to make sure the value of your offer is worth giving up whatever you're asking for (email address, phone number) from your prospect. By giving away something for free, you ask for less (i.e. no money), increase the net value, and thus increase lead conversion.

Build your brand's reputation.

This topic also came up recently at Podcamp Boston in regards to charging for attending the event itself. In the early days of Podcamp, admission to the event was free -- it was a brand new event and the organizers had no idea if anyone would show up at all. By offering the event for free, they lowered the barrier to attend, and once people were there, they confirmed how great the event was and helped build the reputation of the event as a whole. Today, the organizers charge a low admission cost for a variety of reasons, but had they not offered free admission in the past, it would have been much harder to build up the event.

Establish yourself as a trusted thought leader.

Even after you build up your company's reputation, it's a great idea to continue to give away content for free. This helps display your thought leadership and become a trusted resource for your prospects. That way, when those prospects do need your products and services, they are more likely to come to you first to solve their needs.

Help spread your content.

David Meerman Scott frequently speaks about the benefit of offering your content for free being that your content will get in front of many more people. This points back to lowering the friction during the lead conversion process. By making your content completely free and open (no lead capture form even), more people are likely to download and also share your content with others. And the more people who see your content, the more people who know about your business and come to you to solve their needs.

All this said, the most important thing to do is to test, test, and test some more. Try a free offer, try an offer that's completely open, try different landing pages and calls to action, all to see what delivers the best results for your business.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo by iboy_daniel

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Originally published Aug 12, 2009 8:15:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

Topics:

Event Marketing