Many Internet marketers tell you to provide free content and people will come.
This is true; I know because I’ve developed two email lists totaling over 17,000 using this method. It’s called information marketing or education marketing.
But this method doesn’t necessarily find your most likely customers. Offering free content often attracts people who will never buy — they are looking only for free content. These are do-it-yourselfers, bootstrappers. You might be reading this post because you’re one of those yourself!
But getting people who will never buy doesn’t help your business. You may be able to earn ad income from all the traffic, but you’ll have a problem selling your products and services.
The good news
The good news is that when people need help, even if they signed up for free information, they may buy from you eventually. Here are strategies you can use:
- Offer free events, such as webinars and provide useful information. At the end, sell a product that extends the information you gave. Even if they don’t buy, just signing up for a free event gets them used to responding actively to your emails.
- Provide inexpensive products that won’t be a price pinch. You can move them up from there. Once you have the person as a customer, put that person into a separate email list and provide special tips and deals. In this way, you develop a relationship with your customers.
- Always broadcast the fact that others on the list are participating or buying. One technique of persuasion is to let people know what others like them are doing.
How to get buyers onto your list
Providing free content isn’t enough to get buyers onto your list. It’s useful, but you need to do more. Here are some ideas:
- Partner with others in your field and ask them to recommend you to their list. Do the same in return. I find that this is a good way to start, because you can quickly see if those people have good content on their site that you can recommend. And they can see what you have.
- Try to get joint venture partners for your products. This doesn’t work in all niches, but you can try. It’s a very powerful technique. Give your partner a percentage of the sales using an affiliate program. Your shopping cart probably has one.
- Use social media widely. In this way, you’ll attract a wider group of people and can invite them to participate in your events and buy your products and services. I especially recommend being active in LinkedIn groups. By joining relevant groups, you’ll target people who share an interest in your niche. You can add them as connections and invite them personally to an event. If you create your own group, you can email the members once a week.