The Free Factor

We all like something for free.

Free samples, free information, free software, free checking.

A turning point in my business was when I learned how to give away free information in the form of my Marketing Plan Workbook to those who visited my web site. This helped me to grow my email list to over 50,000 people in a few years.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Since the late 90’s my e-list has been the foundation of Action Plan Marketing and has been the source of virtually all of my business – manuals, workshops, teleclasses, coaching, consulting, courses and the Marketing Club.

And I don’t think I’d have gotten there without giving a whole lot of stuff away for free.

The question is, how do you make “free” work for you? Here are a number free strategies that really work.

1. Free Report upon eZine signup, and of course, a free eZine.

There may be nothing more important in business and marketing than building your e-list. And all it takes is exchanging some valuable information for a web visitor’s name and email address.

Here are the 5 components you need to make this successful: A report such a “7 Mistakes Report” or a workbook, a regular eZine – at minimum monthly – better twice monthly, an e-list manager such as aWeber.com. A link to a sign-up form.

2. Free TeleClasses or Webinars

These are great for introducing a product or program. I’ve promoted inexpensive manuals and courses as well as multi- thousand dollar programs with the help of teleclasses.

You’ll need: Your email list (or someone to promote you with their list), a free teleconference line such as www.freeconferencecall.com, and some software to record your calls. It’s worth figuring out how to put this all together because it really works.

3. Free Introductory Presentations or Workshops

Many of my Mastery Program clients use this to get their foot in the door of business clients. It’s a way to convey an experience of what it’s like to work with you while providing value. All you need: A well-designed presentation and perhaps a few Power Point slides. But you can’t market this like a teleclass to your whole list. You need to contact prospects directly.

4. Free “Strategy Sessions” or Selling Conversations

Many hate the idea of selling and feel they have to beg to get a prospect to meet to discuss their services. Instead, you position your selling conversation as a valuable Strategy Session designed to learn the vision, goals and challenges of your prospects.

You need to design: A method to offer Strategy Sessions, and you must outline or script your Strategy Sessions so that they convert qualified prospects into paying clients. It takes some trial and error, but it’s really the only way to sell professional services.

Don’t Promote the Service, Promote the Free Offer

The point I want to make in this eZine is that when you think of marketing a service or program of any kind, you do not market the service directly, you market the free offer.

Once someone takes advantage of the free offer, they are saying in essence, “OK, I’m interested in what you’re offering, I’m just not ready to buy yet. But I’m open to learning more.”

A direct promotion for a service or program will get a certain response. But a promotion for a free offer can get ten times the response (or more). And then you can direct your promotion for the actual service to only those who responded to the free offer.

Those then become your qualified prospects.

The More Clients Bottom Line: Start shifting your marketing to giving away something for free: reports, eZines, teleclasses, webinars, introductory presentations and Strategy Sessions. If you really embrace this and master the techniques for promoting free offers, you’ll have as many clients as you want.

By Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit Robert’s web site at www.actionplan.com for additional marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional service businesses.