This afternoon I got a lengthy email from someone who felt that they needed to save me from myself. Apparently, I am very guilty of “moving the free line” and giving too much away in these posts. I was told without question that I needed to charge for this information otherwise people won’t buy the milk if they get the cow for free.
Ah yes, the mystical “free line” that everyone keeps moving. We need to get that thing an anchor and lock it down.
For those of you not familiar with the free line, it’s a term marketers online use to describe how much stuff they giveaway versus what they charge for. The line is the point where the information or product they are giving away is perceived to be too much value so they charge you for it. When someone moves the free line, they are giving away more and more for free.
I’ve always had a fairly ambivalent relationship with this whole free line. I don’t really think of things along the lines of, “How can I give them something in an effort to make them want to buy from me?” I look at creating things or sharing information and giving it away for free because sometimes it makes sense to do it.
Let me explain that a bit.
I know what I should charge for and what I can give away for free. There’s no “line” or to be candid with you, even any kind of deeper strategy. There’s stuff that I think is useful to share with people because it can help them and it costs me nothing to give it to them. If on the other hand, I think there’s something worth selling, then I will.
It’s pretty much that simple.
Now, that’s not to say there is no plan around things. For example, people can get the first issue of the Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter for free by opting into my email list – I planned that from the beginning. I held it back for some time, making it only available to buyers, but then I decided the best thing to do would be to sell it for an email address an opportunity to get into people’s inboxes every day.
For me, I just think people over think their funnel, their strategy, their lead magnets and everything. You don’t have to trick people or use false scarcity, you don’t need to overwhelm them with free stuff. Think about what they need, work out if you can give it to them and then if you think that it’s worth paying for, charge for it.
Don’t get too hung up on free lines or giving too much away. Focus on offering value, that’s the most important thing.