When you’re first building your business or stepping out as a freelancer, you’ve probably heard that you should do whatever it takes to get testimonials, reviews, feedback, etc. Even — gasp — “giving it away for free.”
There is a definite expectation that we should offer our expertise and our labor for free when we’re new, and honestly even when we’re more established. We’re not about that at Hello, CEO. We’re about making sure you get paid for your skills, your labor, and the value you offer.
But… what about freebies? Lead magnets? Opt-ins? What should be free and what should be paid?
As entrepreneurs, want to get paid… but can we get paid and still share our expertise for free? We think you can, when you know the difference between free information and free transformation (you want to avoid the second).
One of the most common things we’ve seen in the online space is confusing information and transformation. But if you’re wondering how you can entice your audience, grow your leads, and showcase your expertise without giving away the whole farm… you need to know the difference between the two.
Information is the information that you’re selling (or giving away) itself. You’ve curated this information through your own experience, labor, or research — such as “11 things I wish I knew when I started my cat photography business.” You’re sharing said information in a certain container, whether that’s through a video training, a PDF, an email series, etc. But it is only information. This is where most people feel better about giving away something for free or for a very low cost, because they’re giving information, not instruction.
Transformation is the information you’ve curated PLUS the different ways your client can apply that information and use it to facilitate a transformation in their business, life, etc. For example, “The 7 strategies you can implement today to take your cat photography business to new markets.” Usually, transformation is paid — and at a higher price point with more of a coaching or training element involved. You’re showing people what to do to achieve a certain outcome.
Now, let’s zoom back out to your freebie or low-cost offers. These distinctions become important when we’re deciding what to give away for free and what to charge for. It also makes it easier to create your offer ladder — from free stuff to low-cost stuff to higher-cost stuff.
When you lay it out like this, it’s also easier to see the line between what you’re comfortable “giving away” and what you know you want to charge for. Because when you cross the line from information to transformation, you know that more will be required of you to support someone.
Offering your information for free is a great way to attract leads and share your expertise, without pouring too much of your energy into something. The balance is still delicate, for sure, but understanding the difference between these two is a veryyyy important first step.
At the end of the day, this is all about strategy, baby. If you know that giving away some of your hard-won information for free will help people see why they should work with or buy from you, there are a few things to do:
Make sure whatever you’re giving away is exclusive. You want to create something that can’t be just pulled off your site or taken from a blog. You want something gated — meaning they exchange their email address for it — so they know it’s valuable (but yet still free or very low-cost).
Make sure it’s worth their time. The information that you’re giving away may be free and not technically transformative, but it should still be valuable enough to catch their attention. That means showing them how it’ll save them time and why you created it.
Plan ahead. You’ll want to make sure that your freebie/low-cost offer coincides with your paid offers. You don’t want to have “Tips on how to make cat fur booties” when you ultimately want to sell people into your cat fur photography course. One way to do this is to plan an email sequence that takes people from your informational freebie to your paid transformational offer. This will take your new leads on a journey and show them just what’s possible (transformation!) when they take that next step with you.
Need an example? We have a $19 9-grid guide with prompts to help you build yours. We give you the information and then give you a tool to eliminate social media stress — voila!
We hate this phrase because, honestly, humans are worth way more than dollars and cents in a bank. But when it comes to deciding if you want to give away something for free, it comes down to how you feel about it. We never want you to undervalue yourself, but we also know that amazing opportunities do come along that would help your business or career grow.
You might be asked to present at a summit and you know the information you’re going to give borders on coaching (that you charge thousands for!). But rather than turn it into a purely informational session, you might want to lean in and show off — because you know someone is watching who will become a client.
Other times, you might realize that a potential lead is asking too much of you. Using this framework of information vs. transformation, you can adjust course and update the scope of your relationship.
Truly, the whole point of this blog is to help give you information (see what we did there) that can help you make decisions in your business. Remember: information and transformation are both valuable, but they’re not the same!
© 2022 Hello CEO, LLC