I was browsing a couple online marketing forums the other day, and a number of threads jumped out at me.
They were all asking similar questions, like…
“Why aren’t people signing up for my email list? I’m giving away free stuff (a free report, free ebook, free sample, etc.) Doesn’t everybody want free stuff?”
Well, most experienced marketers already know the answer to this question.
But, for anyone (and everyone) who’s asking this type of question, let me answer it for you right now…
NO! You are NOT giving me anything for “free.”
For starters, you’re asking me to pay for it with my valuable time, attention, and energy. Then you want me to pay even more, by giving you my personal info (usually just my name and email address) but it’s still mine, and you want me to give it to you.
So here’s the thing… Your “free” offer, needs to be worth my “valuable” time and effort.
And when I land on your page, you’ve got about 3 seconds to convince me!
Ready… set… GO!
3… 2… 1… TIMES UP!
Now, one of two things just happened…
1) I’ve already clicked away, because your offer either didn’t interest me, or it looks the same as 1,000,000 other “me too” offers, promoting similar things. (Game over)
– Or –
2) Your “headline, opening, and offer” got my attention. So I guess you’ve earned another few seconds of my time. And (maybe) my email address.
But keep in mind, if your page is just an “opt-in landing page” that has little more than a headline, a couple bullet points, and a sign up form; You’re only getting my “throw away” email address. (you know, the one I use to sign up for freebies. But rarely ever check)
So your freebie better be damn good, if you want me to continue reading your emails on a regular basis.
On the other hand, if your page has more content (other than just a sign-up form) then the content itself needs to be valuable. Remember, I’m already paying you with my time and attention, so the more you want me to spend… the more value you need to give me in exchange.
On the plus side, if I think I can trust you to provide value… You just might get my “good” email address.
Also remember, when I give you my contact info, that doesn’t mean I love you. That simply means we’re at the “beginning” of a value exchange relationship.
You see, everything in business, is a value exchange.
In your business, the ultimate exchange is when I give you my money, and I get something in return that makes my life better.
It could be a product or service that…
– Entertains me (and lets me forget my day-to-day routine for a while)…
– Provides a solution to a problem I’m having (or makes my life better in some way)…
– Let’s me donate to a good cause (so I can feel good about helping people).
– And the list goes on.
But the point is this; A value exchange is when I give you something, and I get something in return, and everybody benefits.
Now back to our example of an email campaign. To simplify it for the sake of brevity (because this post is already getting a bit lengthy) I’ll break it down for you, in a few broad strokes…
1) I give you a few moments of my time… You give me hope that your offer can improve my life (somehow)
2) I give you my contact info… You give me something of value in exchange (and it better be something of value, like you promised; or I’ll feel cheated, and the relationship is over)
3) You give me more value (in the form of “useful” follow-up emails)… I give you more of my time, by reading them (and perhaps I give you a bit of my trust)
4) You give me an offer that will improve my lot in life… I give you my money (assuming you’ve gained my trust)
Do you see how this works? Every step of the way, there’s a value exchange. And each exchange has the potential to build a stronger relationship.
I made the first payment by giving you some of my time, and attention. And you need to give me something of value in return (or at least perceived value, to me) if you want this exchange to continue.
I hope that makes sense to you?
Anyway, let me just wrap this up by saying…
If you ever catch yourself asking why nobody is signing up for your “free” mailing list, with your “free” offer; Try changing your mindset and your focus.
And instead ask “How can I give my audience massive value, first?”
Because the truth is…
Your FREE offer is not really free… So you need to make it valuable, and you need to convince me it’s worth paying for.
Well, I need to get back to work now. So my greatest wish is that I’ve given you something of value, in exchange for the few moments of your time that you’ve just given me.
All the best,