When you are starting out and trying to build a following as well as a business, you will face the dilemma. Should I sell this or give it away?
- If you give everything away, how will you make money?
- But if you try to sell everything, how will people know if they should trust you?
Luckily there is a useful framework that can help you work out what decision you should make. Unfortunately, they aren’t checkboxes but guidelines which point in favor of a certain option.
1. When it’s easy to find, give it away
If this is something that people could easily find elsewhere, it’s better to giveaway. After all, it’s available elsewhere and so the value is less. This would also make it harder to sell and could be questionable ethically.
2. When it’s pure information, give it away
Now, thanks to the internet, information is practically unpriceable and yet still invaluable to us. This ties into the previous point.
If Information is so easily found then it is difficult to sell. so it is probably better to give it away.
3. When starting out, give more
Finally, when you are just starting out, you should give more than when you are more experienced. This is for four reasons.
- You build up a bank of free material and can then prioritize premium items later.
- You can identify what topic are more popular with your audience and focus on those for premium material later.
- Your earlier material will likely be less valuable as you improve your skills.
- Finally, your biggest challenge when starting out is getting noticed, not making money.
If you aren’t noticed, then it doesn’t matter if you have something people want.
This applies to copy as well as marketing strategy.
When you should sell
There are a few clear signs that you should sell instead of giving away.
1. When someone asks to buy
If someone asks to buy something from you, that’s a good sign that you should sell it. They may give you clear and exact details of what they want, or be vague. Either way, this is a great sign to make something to sell and that you will have buyers ready.
2. When you have a sufficient following
The sad truth about sales is that even good funnels are a numbers game and it’s stacked against you at the start.
When you are starting out, you will attract a lot of people who aren’t quite in your target group. As such, your 200 email subscribers might contain 20 perfect subscribers, only 8 of whom are ready to buy. Still, that could be significant cash.
In general, about 10% move down the funnel when you want. So, 1,000 subscribers, 100 are interested 10 are ready and have the cash in hand to buy.
Around 1,000 subscribers is a great point to start focusing on selling. You will have the infrastructure in place to keep growing your subscribers as well as enough to buy from you. (There are plenty of exceptions and you may need to wait longer or less time).
3. When you are offering more than just information
Although information is basically worthless, or at least unsellable, transformation is worth a lot of money and people are happy to pay it.
How you present your information can change information into transformation, and there are add-ons that can increase what you offer.
- coaching sessions
- a community
If you are offering something like one of these options, you can charge more than just a free giveaway.
Admittedly, something like can also be a great email opt-in bribe to build an email list or generate sales leads, so that is worth considering too.
Should you sell or should you give?
Hopefully, these prompts can help you work out what you should do. But If you aren’t sure, give it away. You can always sell it later if you got it wrong.