(Also – if I’d have stopped there, this would’ve been the shortest blog post in the world… and terrible for SEO!)
So let’s dig into how constantly producing free content could be affecting your bottom line profits!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have heard that;
a) ‘content is king/ queen’ and
b) that in order to get more paying clients, you need to produce lots of free content. Or at least have a blog, podcast, write daily posts on Facebook and make sure that you’re creating new content for your group each week. Plus all the other social channels… because #AllTheThings.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
In fact, years ago, I heard Amy Porterfield say “I want people to think – if her free stuff is that good then her paid stuff must be AMAZING!” And took it to heart. I created TONS of truly awesome free content.
- Facebook Live Trainings in my free Facebook Community to the tune of daily 45 minute trainings. DAILY.
- Running quarterly challenges and answering EVERY post (I still do this – and will explain why later!)
- Posting interesting discussion threads in my Facebook Community.
Not to mention, being on Instagram, running book clubs, being on podcasts/ telesummits and participating in giveaways.
In hindsight, I was bonkers. But everyone told me that I was doing the ‘right’ things.
Until I looked at two particularly important business elements.
- The experience of my customers.
My constant content creation was overwhelming them. It was giving them so much to consume, that they forgot the most important part – implementation. And they were becoming ‘baby birds’ and expecting more and more for free… without wanting to invest the time, energy or money required.
- My bottom line profits.
Sure – I could get tons of likes. Masses of answers on every market research post. Loads of friend requests… and even a whole bunch of ‘I really need this!’ comments on my posts. But did they all convert into sales? Did they heck! I’d trained my audience to only want free… and it was showing in my PayPal account.
It was frustrating.
Here I was, doing the things that I was ‘supposed’ to do.
And yet, my audience weren’t acting in the way that the ‘gurus’ had said that they would.
After share-drinking a large bottle of Pinot Noir one night, I realised that I had created a monster that constantly needed feeding. And I couldn’t do it anymore.
I immediately looked at my business plan – and realised that far from creating free content that was so good that people wanted to pay me… I was creating content that should have been paid for – and actioned so that my audience a) stepped up and got results and b) valued the content that they were consuming.
Free content does NOT make people buy. Selling to them, makes people buy. #MythBustMomentClick to tweet
I decided to run a test.
Instead of showing up on Facebook Lives every day in my community and running these trainings, I decided to pop them into a membership site – and sell it to my audience. I removed the existing trainings from my group and set clear boundaries around when I would show up – and what level of support that they could expect for free.
I showed up for myself… and instead of answering every single question organically each time, I directed people to content already created (like this blog and later, my podcast.)
Some people hated it. In fact, I got a lot of hate mail about it. Turns out that some people do NOT like boundaries.
Others adored it. Because it showed them that they didn’t have to be ‘on’ all of the time with some kind of manic perma-smile and need to make content out of every single event. That actually they could build profitable businesses with key content that was designed to a) give massive value to their audience and b) convert them into buyers.
Within three months, my revenue had increased by 38%.
That sounds small… but with the business size that I had already plus the fact that the percentage of buyers continued to increase month after month… it meant that I was working less and getting paid way more often.
(And the membership site? Now a fully fledged membership site helping people hit their first five figure months, land their first clients, set up their first funnels…. Not bad eh!?)
So – when you’re creating your free content, I want you to think NOT about quantity… but about quality. And potential for people to purchase!Click to tweet
Ask yourself these questions before creating free content
1. Why am I creating this piece of free content? Is it to solve a problem that my audience currently have? Am I up-selling effectively after the free content? Does it lead into a paid product/ service? Or am I doing it because I ‘should’?
2. How can I re-use this free content in my business? Can I repurpose this podcast episode into a blog/ into a few tweets/ into a signature talk? Can I reuse it without it being tons of effort? Or have I created something that I can never reuse or repurpose?
3. Have I set clear boundaries around what I’m willing to do for free – and what my audience need to pay me for? Am I comfortable (or willing to get comfortable) saying; “Actually [NAME], I’d love to help you with that – but it’s something that I help my paid clients with in our sessions… so it wouldn’t be fair on them to give you the assistance for free when they’ve invested in me to get that particular solution. Would you like to book a call for me and discuss [SOLUTION] to see if it’s the right fit for you?”
4. Am I building the business I want to build? Am I following people who create content/ have built a business foundation that I like? E.G If you like automation and the idea of passive income but you’re following a constant organic content machine… you may end up building a business that you can’t bear being part of!
5. Am I selling enough to my audience? Am I getting something in exchange for my free content and effort? Whether it’s an email address or a PayPal ping… you must be positioning and selling offers regularly within your content so that you train your audience to become buyers as opposed to squawking baby birds!
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and want to see more of my #MythBustMoments – or get on the waitlist for the new “Bossing Your Business”’ Templates, make sure that you pop your email address in the box below…!