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Website Marketing: Do You Make These 3 Mistakes With Free Offers?

Jan 12, 2008
Professionals -- coaches, consultants, financial planners -- want to help their clients. They also realize that clients often cannot imagine what service delivery feels like, let alone appreciate the benefits.

So their offer all kinds of freebies to generate leads, convert visitors and attract clients: sample sessions, get-acquainted calls, bonus gifts, introductory and CDs. Being generous, they often toss off a free offer because "everybody does it."

Free offers can be a rewarding investment of your time or a wasteful drain on your energies. Here are 3 of the most common freebie mistakes.

(1) Focusing on price, not value.

Does the back of your business card read, "Call me for a free 20-minute consultation?"

Some professionals tell me they gained clients this way... five or more years ago. Today, I believe you have to differentiate yourself based on benefits and based on your unique ability to out-perform the competition.

Experienced buyers expect the free call to be little more than a sales pitch. So your offer can actually signal that you don't value your time *or* your prospect's time.

(2) Not tying your freebies directly to your target market.

Will your freebies attract prospects who differ considerably from those who actually sign up for the regular-priced service?

When I first offered copywriting servies, I offered free trial consultations.

But I soon discovered a hard truth. Clients who grabbed my free offers were very different from clients who expected to pay for the diagnostic call.

And they didn't understand what they were receiving. One early client even said, "Sure, after you wrote my copy, I filled my workshop. But I'm sure it was coincidence."

Needless to say, my free offers are long gone, even for my very best friends, even if I still had time in my schedule.

Of course, few marketing strategies are universal. In some markets, you will profit greatly by offering free sessions.

One reason: That's the only way your prospects can get a sense of what you offer. Some professionals offer services that are so confidential they can't even get signed testimonials.

And in some markess, introductory offers lead to lucrative contracts. You have to test.

(3) Not incorporating your freebies into your overall marketing strategy

Decide what you will give away as part of your marketing efforts - and decide what you will demand in return.

Many marketers (including me) offer ezines, e-courses and mini-ebooks...if you agree to share your name and email address and receive future mailings, including product announcements.

Some coaches and consultants offer free consultations after the prospect completes a lengthy questionnaire or assignment. They find they attract strong prospects by creating these filters.

Others offer a reverse free offer: Pay for a short consultation and get a refund if you sign up for a larger project. Frankly, I like this system because your prospect gets a realistic experience with no sales pitch and no hassle.

Ultimately, the decision to offer a freebie - and the type of freebie you offer - can shape your marketing strategy and ultimately your ability to attract clients.
About the Author
Are you ready to create a website that really attracts clients and increases sales? Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., has answers. Download FREE 10-step "Hook Your Clients" Website Marketing System For Independent Professionals."
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Copywriting and Website Marketing To Attract Clients.
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