Your website is a very important component of your business, even if you are running a bricks and mortar shop. The website can be the first place your potential customers find you, and where you can begin to engage with them. By putting information on your website, you are making it easier for them to find you as well as discover what your business is all about. But how much information is too much? If you give it all away for free on your site, won’t that stop people from becoming paying customers? Not at all. In fact, it can help attract even more customers.
Trust is an important part of doing business, even more so today than ever before. People have choices now. They no longer have to buy their products from Joe Bloggs down the road. With the internet, they can buy anything from anywhere around the world. So how do they decide who they should buy from? Or who to do business with? Usually, it comes down to the person or business they feel they can trust the most.
Trust is a huge currency in the business world and a good way to gain it is to give your best and most helpful information away – for free.
The benefits of giving content away for free
- Sharing your wisdom helps others get an idea of the level of expertise you have, as well as how you work. Having free content on your site can act as a portfolio of sorts, so that potential customers can see samples of what you do before they commit to anything. Examples of this include: informative blogs, eBooks they can download for free, case studies on past clients or even a free Skype session to discuss working together.
- Sharing information is the quickest way to position yourself as an authority on a subject, especially if the information is really valuable. If you consistently upload helpful content to your website that people find really useful or that solves a problem that they have, they will start to view you as an expert in your field. You will come across as someone who knows so much about your industry, that you can confidently give information away for free.
- The more people see you as a helpful expert, the more they will come to you for your advice, services or products. It’s unlikely that you will lose customers by handing them the information they are looking for, because chances are they still won’t have the time or the full knowledge to be able to implement your tips well enough to be able to cut you out.
Take an interior designer for example; they can upload countless YouTube videos about how to create the perfect room, or give case studies with before and after shots on their website, or write blogs on what’s hot this year, and you can bet they still have a full schedule of customers. You can also bet that the more information they give away and the more they place themselves as the leading expert in interior design, the more they have customers lining up at their door. Because just reading tips and helpful advice on your favourite designers’ website won’t make you an expert who is able to put together a room as nice as one the designer can. And even if you are confident in your ability, chances are you don’t have the time for it, so the interior designers’ role is still very relevant.
- Word-of-mouth has always been the best form of advertising. The modern version of this is social sharing. The more helpful information you put on your website, and share on your social media pages, the more chance you have that people are going to find it and also share it. People ‘liking’ and sharing your information is a form of endorsement, and a way of getting your business name out to the world … for free!
- Last of all, if you are giving great content away, people can’t help but wonder; if this is the stuff you are sharing for free, then how good is the stuff you have to pay for? By putting information on your website for free you are positioning yourself as: an expert, trusted, helpful and great at what you do.
As you can see, there are many benefits to giving away information for free on your website. But there is a fine line on where you should stop.
The information you give should be useful enough that it helps solve the customers’ problem, but not so informative that it eliminates the need for them to hire you.
Going back to the example above of the interior designer; they might share pictures of beautifully styled rooms, before and after shots, content on what colours are in this season as well as general decorating tips. But they should never give specific information on the products and pieces they’ve used, such as price tags, details on where to find the pieces or how to get the same discounts they can get.
A good way to remember it is this: give them the what, why and who for free … but charge them for the how.