In the spirit of giving, I want to give "solopreneurs" and service-based small business owners some insights into generosity marketing. Generosity Marketing is a philosophy within content marketing that boils down to giving away your best content, product or service for free. Note that I said best and free in the same sentence. This is the differentiator from everyday content marketing. Usually an entrepreneur will give away his best knowledge, tactics or case studies via a webinar, email series, video series or through interaction on social media. The key with this strategy is to answer the hardest questions your tribe faces: Give away what your audience needs most.
So why would any entrepreneur want to do this? There are many reasons including establishing your authority, growing your email subscriber list, building trust with your target audience along with good will. According to Jeff Walker, author of Launch, it also produces the audience’s spirit of reciprocity, causing them to think “They have given so much for free, I need to repay them.”
The main concern I hear is "if I give away the milk, will the buy the cow?" The truth is sometimes they won’t. If someone is tech savvy and you produce free tutorials on technical matters, there are times when this viewer will watch your tutorial, do exactly as you say on their own and never hire you. And that's okay, as there are a number of people that will pay for your services. But because you are giving away something for free, you need to be careful.Here are some best practices for generosity marketing.
Limit your time.
You should know way more than you can fit into one one-hour webinar. So offer up heartfelt solutions to your target’s problems but put a limit on how often you do this (i.e. once a month).
If you choose to include social media into your strategy, you may start to feel the wear of someone abusing your generosity. If this is the case, simply reply that you’d love to move the conversation off of social media and offer them a paid 30-minute consultation.
Mention the hiring aspect.I want to repeat here that the word I used is mention. Not sell. Not promote. Just mention.Be sure and add at the end of your emails, videos and conversations that you’d love to help viewers tackle their specific problem and give them a way to reach you.
Keep your brand top of mind.
Make sure to have your name or logo on your content and post it on your own channels if possible. You want it to be easy for people to go from free content to contacting you to buying from you.
Use the data.All of that free consultation time is a window into your target consumer’s soul. Check the analytics on your video views and email clicks. Review comments for the most commonly asked questions or biggest objections to your points. Use those insights to write your next ebook or launch your next program. Get testimonials from those you help for free just like you would paid clients.
I realize this strategy isn't for everyone, so if you hate this concept, don’t do it. There is nothing worse than trying to fit your square self into the round content-marketing mold. In the end, it will just hurt your brand.
Know, however, that if you don’t jump on this bandwagon, you may lose business to those who have. Remind yourself of why you went into business in the first place. There are people out there who desperately need what you offer for their life or business.