Have you ever tasted a free food sample at Costco and then went on to buy the full bottle or packet or whatever? According to The Atlantic, supermarkets like Mash and Costco experience up to 2,000% increase in sales because of giving away these free samples. More often than not the reason for the sale is that the tasters feel the need to give back – they received something tasty (enough) and the person handing out the samples was really friendly, so they had a great experience.

I often see that accounting firms are concerned at giving away too much free stuff, especially when they’re still new to content marketing. And I understand, you’re afraid that you’ll give away so much that no-one wants to sign up to work with you – because they don’t need you anymore.

And yes, to get back to our supermarket example, these free samples can be abused. In 2010, a man was arrested in a Supervalu grocery store in Minnesota for stuffing his pockets with 1.46 pounds of beef sticks and sausage samples, as well as a dozen soy sauce packets.

When giving stuff away online, you can put a limit on what they can get (you can only download the same freebie once, after all). And while there is something like giving away too much, more often we give way too little. You may not see a 2,000% increase in revenue, but you will see an increase.

 

Why You Need to Give Away Free Content

When we give away free content – blogs, videos, podcasts, downloadable freebies, emails – we …

  • Earn their trust. If you just tell people that they should work with you if they need [insert your service], then how would they know whether you’re the real deal? Through your free content, you can show them that you’re not just another number cruncher; you really know what you’re talking about. If you give them small wins, they’ll think: “If I get so much value out of her free stuff, imagine how much she’s going to help me once I pay her for her advice.”
  • Make a connection. The more you help them, and the more you show a bit of yourself to them, the more they get to know you and like you. Essentially, you’re building a relationship with them, even though you don’t hear their side of the conversation yet.

 

They’ll Still Need Your Expertise

You must also remember that even when you give them something really in-depth, they’re still going to need help implementing it – or parts of it at least.

For example, let’s say you create a detailed roadmap on how to write a business plan which they can download. Some people will attempt to create their business plan on their own, and they may even do a decent job with it. But some may realise that they can’t do this on their own, and ask for your help.

Or they may even come to you for help with something else. Let’s say that – thanks to your freebie – they managed to get buy-in into their business idea, but now they need someone to help them to set up an accounting system; you’ve essentially helped them in securing the investment, and because they’re so grateful, you’re at the top of their cool-accountants-list.

 

Where’s the Line between Giving Too Much and Too Little?

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about where you draw the line between giving too much and giving too little; this is best demonstrated with an example:

Let’s say that you have a secret recipe for scaling a business from five to six figures, then don’t give them every little detail and step in your process. Instead, just give them a taste. You can say “my 7-step method is this,” and then list those steps and give a short overview. You can even delve a little deeper into each point – one or two ideas on how to implement it, but not the whole enchilada. Or you can choose only one of those points and go deep into that.

And then, if they want the whole thing, they can sign up to work with you.

 

They’ll Need to Put Some Skin into the Game

Remember, you can never teach someone in a few blogs or videos or downloadable guides everything that you’ve learned over the years – education and experience wise.

I’ve learned this the hard way in my own business. I’ve consumed a lot of free stuff on the internet that helped me progress a little every time. But do you know when I’ve learned the most and got the best results? When I started to pay for advice; when I had skin in the game.

When you have someone else’s eyes and fingers in your work, they can quickly see what the issues are and give you advice on what you need to fix. When you’re learning from trial and error and free advice, you often can’t see what you’re doing wrong.

It’s the same with your prospective clients. At some point, they’ll realise that consuming one freebie after the next and trying to implement them all on their own is wasting a lot of time. That’s when they’ll come to you – or the accountant who has given them a lot of value – money in hand.

 

Nurture the Relationship and Guide Them to the Next Step

A mistake that I see accounting firms make when giving something for free is that they don’t tell people what they need to do next. Or, they don’t nurture this new relationship that they’ve established.

Here are a couple of ideas of what you could do:

  • At the end of your blog post, make sure you leave a call-to-action (CTA) telling people that they should get in touch with you if they need help. If you don’t tell people what their next step is, they’re not going to sign up for what you’re offering. You have to lead them towards the yes. Not everyone is going to get in touch every time, but when they are ready, they need to see that CTA.  
  • When people download a freebie from you, don’t just leave it there. Make sure you link it up with an email nurture sequence – a bunch of follow up emails – that compliments and delves a bit deeper than what the freebie did. The more value they get, the warmer they’ll become and the more likely they’ll be to want to work with you.

 

A Better Question: Do I Give Away Enough?

So, to sum up:

  • Use your free content to show people that you know what you’re talking about and that you can help them.
  • Tell them what they need to do next: Should they download your freebie, or get in touch if they need more help?
  • Nurture the relationship to earn their trust.

Tell me, do you think you give away too much or too little?

 

Your Next Step

If you’d like to learn more about what to give away, how to give it away, and how to use free content to move people from not knowing who you are, to ready to work with you, then I have something special for you.

I’ve created a free course to help you map out your entire 12-month marketing plan over the course of six days. But not only that, I help you to decide which marketing tactics and channels to use, and of course, how to create a journey for your ideal clients where you can build a relationship with them and earn their trust so that you become their clear choice in whom to work with.

This course is tailored towards accounting and tax professionals and is full of examples related to the accounting industry to explain the marketing concepts better.

Check out the course here:

 

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