Make money by giving things away for free…
Are you the type of blogger that’s constantly creating new products or offering some kind of service?
Whatever the offer, some bloggers and business owners give everything away with the intention of growing their audience much quicker.
Otherwise, they provide a “Pay what you want” model where their audience gains access to products/services by paying any amount they wish.
Lastly, others have decided to give away 99% of their offerings while charging only for the remaining 1%.
A non-blogging example includes smartphone apps. Many are 100% free thanks to ad revenue generated, while others ask you to make optional purchases.
On the other hand, something more closely related to blogging includes WordPress plugins, as many are supported solely with donations from users.
All in all, a free or freemium business model can actually work well for your blogging or online venture… all depending on your approach. Do you feel confident implementing a similar system with your blogging or general online business?
Reasons to Consider a Free or Freemium Business Model
Blogging has really evolved over the past decade. Publishing traditional articles works well, but you will often gain a bigger advantage by providing some kind of product or service as well.
This then enables you to give them away free of charge or at the very least implement a freemium business model.
However, you may still feel uneasy about giving away your hard work. That’s understandable, but here are some compelling results you could see from this.
It generally allows you to build an audience much quicker. While having an audience of “hardcore buyers” is usually preferred, offering something for free is not necessarily a bad idea either. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your service will be plagued by freeloaders; it’s all about providing great value and building long-term loyalty (more on this later).
You deliver a bigger impact. Imagine if everyone is charging for a similar service while you’re providing it for free. This move can effectively disrupt your niche market and give you a competitive advantage.
You build trust on a massive scale. Your audience will eventually come to rely on your offerings and know you’ll always look after their best interests.
Examples You Can Implement Today
Do you tend to publish video or written tutorials? Consider releasing most of them for free while charging for a “Special” entry here and there. If you release these via newsletter, for example, many of your subscribers will happily purchase the occasional tutorial because he knows the great value behind it (this is where loyalty and satisfaction comes in).
Likewise, you could release video tutorials for free, but charge a small fee for users to access a transcript along with downloading options.
If you have a lot of ebooks available, you may implement a “Pay what you want” model. Many will download them for free, while others will happily pay (again, this is where loyalty and satisfaction comes in).
You can apply the same principles to just about anything you offer as a blogger. Do you normally charge for job board postings? Consider a free board and only charging a small fee for “Featured Job” placements. You may also provide some bonuses, such as promoting said jobs via your newsletter.
Finally, a donation model can also work well depending on the niche and value you provide.
Providing something for free doesn’t always mean that your audience will appreciate what you’re doing. In fact, they may not notice anything because your offers are just “another part of your blog” and nothing more.
For this reason, consider one or more of the following:
Emphasize the fact that you’re giving something away. You could charge, but you aren’t. Make sure they know this.
Be human, not some corporation. Does your audience know that you are a one-person army providing your product/services at no cost? Coming off as a modest human being might convince many to support your free or Freemium business model.
Provide direction. Letting people pay whatever they wish is great, but it also feels like they’re stranded without guidance. Some may ask, is $1 enough? Is everyone else donating $5 on average? Let them know the amount you would appreciate, but still allow them to choose otherwise.
These models DO NOT work for every single business. It’s difficult to tell if this would work for your business in particular, so it’s always best to experiment carefully.
Have you ever given a major product/service away, or at least for the most part? Would you ever consider this approach? Tell me about your experiences and opinions below…