Moving the “Free Line”
How much do you give away for free? This may sound strange, but if you are currently online, but are not providing free valuable content, you are missing a core part of online marketing. If you are online, you’ve got to be prepared to ‘move the free line’.
Moving the free line is a term that has been around online marketing circles for a while now but only recently started to make its way into mainstream business marketing practice. Traditional business marketing has been about direct response. That is your advertising is designed to get someone to take a direct action. You hope that when they see your advertisement they will buy the product, or get in contact about receiving your services.
However, when you shift into the online environment, you also need to shift your marketing strategies to match that environment. The web is built on a foundation of free. Free email, free website, free content, free telephone calls, free instant messaging, free videos, free music, etc. Internet users have an inbuilt expectation to be able to get things for free. So, if you want people to engage with your brand or business online then you’d better be giving people something for free.
The concept of moving the free line is grounded in the principal of demonstrating value before you ask for a commitment that means demonstrating value without the expectation of compensation. Another word for this is reciprocity. When someone feels that you’ve given them something of value for free, they are far more likely to be willing to pay you for something you provide at a cost.
Its all about building trust in an environment where unfortunately there are too many big bad wolves. By providing value and building a strong online reputation, you increase the likelihood that you will be someone that people feel they can trust. One of the best ways to do this is through regular video blogging that provides value to potential consumers.
How does it work? Well, behavioral psychologists talk about the concept of Know Like Trust as 3 emotions that must take place before someone feels ready to engage with an idea further.This means that a potential customer needs to travel through three emotional barriers. They need to feel that they know you, that they get you, they understand what you’re on about. They need to feel that they like you, which means they share your values, and value your position. And they need to feel that they can trust you, and believe that what you are saying to them is relevant, authentic, truthful, valuable and appropriate to their needs. Video blogging allows anyone to see and hear you in action. See you sharing your passion. Hear you sharing your expertise.
When people can see and hear you, it gives them the most powerful way to connect with you. When you couple this with giving free, quality, useful content you supercharging your online presence. You are actively helping people cross the Know, Like and Trust emotional barriers, and are therefore going to engage and subsequently convert your audience into clients.
So are you ready to move your free line down a few pegs and start giving before you expect to receive?