Why Free Ultimately Pays Off

Here at Freelance Folder we always recommend that Freelancers charge what they are worth. In fact, we’ve written numerous posts to help freelancers determine what to charge for their services.

With all of those posts about setting freelancing rates, you’d think that we’d be the last people to tell freelancers that they should give anything away.

The truth is, giveaways DO work as an effective marketing strategy for freelancers. In this post, we’ll discuss why it works and help you discover how to implement this strategy for your own freelancing business.

Do As We Do

When we suggest that freelancers offer some things for free, we’re not telling you to do anything that we don’t already do ourselves.

Here at Freelance Folder, we give information away in the form of blog posts six days a week. The information we provide is available free of charge to anyone who can find our blog online. Over time, most freelancers will find at least one (and often more) bit of information that will help them in their freelancing business.

We also offer freelancers a free place to hang out and a free networking opportunity. And, being freelancers ourselves, we are happy to support other freelancers.

Of course, we also offer some excellent resources available for freelancers here at an extra cost, such as our WordPress Theme, our book on freelancing and our start up guides. But, much of what we offer is free.

Personally, I also give away a lot of free information on my own blog as well as through Twitter.

Don’t get me wrong. Not everything I do is free of charge. However, offering some free information has helped my freelancing business grow.

Why Free Brings New Business

You’d think that giving things away would be a sure recipe for freelance financial disaster. But, offering a few freebies can actually help your business in the following ways:

  1. Establishes you as an expert–A distribution of free high value information that is widely distributed to prospective clients can help support your expertise in a particular field.
  2. Builds up community and good will–Providing a useful freebie can help establish good will for your freelancing business and will also bolster your customer community.
  3. Gets others promoting you–If you were to ask others to promote your brand online, the answer would likely be “no.” However, everyone loves to promote something that is free.
  4. Helps your customers find you–Offering something for free can raise your online visibility and make it easier for potential customers to find you because you will have greater exposure.
  5. Expands your social network–Giving something away will also expand your social (and online) network as people begin to react to your free item or service.

What You Can Give Away

Would you like your freelancing business to enjoy some of the benefits listed above? Here is a short list of a few items that you might consider giving away:

  • Blog posts–On your own blog, or as a guest blogger
  • Special reports–A short report or white paper makes a very good give away item
  • Seminars–Offer a short class related to your field, either online or in person
  • Podcasts or videos–Interviews or short how-to videos are very popular
  • Products related to your industry–Often you can team with another company
  • Links to other valuable resources–Be sure to make full use of social media to share helpful information
  • Advice–When someone asks for help, think twice before saying “no”

Have you got your freebie ready? Good. Now it’s time to discuss some guidelines so you’ll get the most from your freebie promotions.

Some Guidelines for Freebies

Naturally, you can’t give everything away. You do need to earn a living. Most of your potential clients understand this.

Here are some guidelines to help you get the most from your freebie promotions:

  1. Do offer something of value. Your freebie will be the first impression you make on many potential clients. Make sure that it represents your best work.
  2. Do include your contact information. While your freebie should be more than just a sales pitch, you do need to include a way for prospective clients to contact you.
  3. Set limits on what you will do for free. This is especially true for giving advice, which may wind up taking all of your time. Also, track results for seminars and other freebies to learn what works.

Your Turn

Have you given anything away? If so, what did you give away and how did it help your freelancing business?

Share your experiences in the comments.

Image by *~Dawn~*