I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the free downloads I offer on this blog. I actually started the blog with a free icon set because I had no idea what to write in the first post and I always loved the idea of offering digital items as free downloads.
There are many people who believe that giving away your best products, strategies, and advice will leave you without an income, but others believe that honest and valuable advice will actually increase your sales. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of giving away free content.
Why you should give away free content
If you plan on selling digital products or even if you want to increase your audience, giving away free content is a great way to achieve your goals.
It increases traffic
Everybody loves free stuff. People will be excited if they see a freebie on your site. It doesn’t even matter if you are giving away a checklist you made for your blog or a WordPress theme that you spent hours building. Free downloads will bring your website an increase in organic traffic, and happy readers will share your content with their friends and social media followers.
Builds trust in your brand
Sharing useful information with your readers and letting people test your products is a good way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Quality products and articles that are educational or help solve a problem will help build trust in your paid services and products.
It will boost your sales
People are more likely to hire someone they know and trust. You should create free content that shows your readers that you have the skills and potential to create even better content.
If you are a website designer and write about your process or give away a free blog theme, there’s a great chance that your readers will hire you when they want to give their site a makeover.
Why you shouldn’t give away free content
I believe that giving away free content is beneficial to your blog or business, but there are also some negative aspects that you should consider.
People seeking freebies might not be the ones that buy from you
There’s traffic, and then there’s traffic. I noticed that the free items I shared on the blog bring in a lot of new readers, but not everyone is here to stay. A lot of these people browse the freebie category, download what’s useful to them and then leave the site.
It’s very important to fill your website with valuable content that will make them stay longer on your site and will even make them return.
You will ruin your mailing list
A few months ago I decided to give a special freebie to my newsletter subscribers. It did the trick and my email list grew overnight. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of the new subscribers opened the newsletters so I had to clean my list.
Offering a discount code or a free download is a great way to grow your email list, but you should know that a lot of the people that sign up will not read your emails or will only open them in hopes of finding a freebie.
Your readers might become used to getting everything for free
If the freebie seekers are the largest part of the audience, they might not be tempted to buy your products or services. They are obviously used to getting your best products and advice for free, so why should they pay for something that might not be as good as what they already have? In fact, if you try to promote your services or digital products they might unsubscribe or stop visiting your site.
Is there such a thing as too much free content?
This depends on the type of content your are offering. If you are a marketing expert and want to sell your services, you might not want to give people all your best advice for free. You should give honest and valuable advice that will show them that your strategies work.
I’ve always been in favor of giving away free content, whether it’s a sample of my work or a tutorial, and they helped me grow my audience even when I wasn’t around that much. Of course, seeing your email list filled with freebie hunters and people that will never open your emails can be a bit frustrating.
I’d love to hear what you think about giving away free content.