In a recent Way North Writers meeting Hope Clark who authors a website for freelance writers told the group (copywriters, journalists, and aspiring novelists) the following story. The best advice she ever got, she said, was when she was at a writer’s conference and a colleague told her “to never write for free.” Hope said that she had an epiphany from that advice that helped her hone her business direction.
Now on some level that advice may sound a bit harsh and while there will always be cases where you will want to help someone just because you can, the point of the story is well taken: If you don’t place value on your work others won’t.
It’s a simple story but it has great depth in its almost Zen-like quality and can be applied to any aspect of your work.
A common marketing strategy these days is to give away a free report or tip sheet when someone registers for your site. It’s a great tool for attracting attention people, let’s face it people always want to get a bargain. However, by placing a monetary value on that report, for example, “you can get our free report – normally valued at 29.95”, you are now giving value and importance to what was once a free item. You are telling the clients that your work is valuable and although you are willing to part with it (if they give you contact information) you want them to know that your work does not come free.
In the minds of the clients, this report suddenly becomes more desirable. They now want it. They really want it.
Compare that example with some of those infomercials that are currently out there. They advertise a product that, let’s face it sounds pretty good. But then they add if you order, you’ll also receive a second item. And…. If you order in the next 15 minutes you also get a third item. Absolutely free!
I don’t know about you, but that sort of sales technique turns me off. Instead of thinking I’m getting a bargain, I start thinking “hey, these items must be pretty cheap in order to include them all for one price.” The desire I had for the initial item (that remember, sounded pretty good) has been diluted by all the free add-ons. The entire deal has lost value with the result that I pass on it.
Think about this as you make content available to your clients on your website. Too much of a good thing can truly be, too much.