FREE – The Ultimate Secret Of Making Money Online

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FREE - The Ultimate Secret Of Making Money Online
Image – Pixabay (PD)

“If you want to quickly stand out from competition, build a base of fans and get some free buzz… put up a HIGH VALUE (not junk) course and make it direct download.




…This isn’t news in the merchandise world. If you want to launch a new energy drink, you hire promo girls and get them to hand out thousands of your product at the events where your target market is hanging out.

You GIVE, GIVE, GIVE for FREE to get a quick introduction into the market… Give freebies to your subscribers, give bonuses to your virtual assistants and contractors… give higher commissions to your affiliates, give recognition and bonuses to your affiliates, give more than your salespage claims your product will deliver. GIVE. You’ll make friends with an army of people in record time. And if you want to experience “easy money’… see how profitable things get when you have social power. Be genuine about it and do it for the fun of it. Karma takes care of the rest.” — Rob Toth “The Genie”

Introduction: The Most Important Word On The Internet

This tutorial is all about one word. One very important word, arguably The Most Important Word On The Internet……

free

Now it’s very common knowledge that if you want visitors to come to your web site, you might want to have a nice freebie with which to entice them. Having good, free content should be your “ace card” in attracting traffic to your site, and it also develops the vital relationship of trust between you and your customers.
However the concept goes further than that. Way further. One of the most powerful tools you can use to make a lot of money online, is to give something BIG away for free. This might seem to the uninitiated to be counter-intuitive or even crazy, but in fact it is not.




Freeconomics

The concept that free can make big money has now “come of age”. Many of the world’s big web sites – such as Google, Facebook, Instagram – operate on the “freeconomics” model – offering high quality utilities and usefulness (that cost a fortune to produce) entirely free, then profiting from the huge traffic that was generated. You could even say that they are competing with each other to see who can give away the best service for free.
Alexa is a web site that specializes in publishing the statistics of other web sites. It publishes a list of the most visited web sites in the world – a bit like a “Fortune 500” of web sites.

Go to alexa.com’s Top Sites List and take a look at the list of the biggest, best (and most profitable) web sites in the world. What do they have in common? (And I don’t mean the “www” at the beginning of their name….) You’ve guessed it – Almost without exception, they offer an incredible product or service… entirely free. And the bigger, the better, the more useful, the more desirable their free giveaway, the more popular their web site becomes: Until it goes viral and then grows exponentially, literally exploding in popularity by virtue of its existing popularity. It’s a runaway train. A snowball effect. And then once the web site has massive traffic and reputation, there are all kinds of ways to turn that traffic into revenue.

These revenue streams, even if not unveiled until the site is already huge, will very often have been part of the plan right from the beginning… and with the greatest, most successful web sites, the uninitiated can only witness and gasp as the full magnitude of their master plan is unveiled. How did they manage to be so far ahead of the game?
Google became huge by offering free, incredibly powerful and useful tools such as the search engine. By continuing to offer state-of-the-art tools and services entirely free, Google stays ahead of the competition – and the massive traffic of its search engine means that the results page offers an enormous opportunity for advertising revenue.

It’s amazing how much you can learn simply by studying the methods of the most successful and the best.

Youtube became huge by offering free video hosting, a cool interactive user interface, and a slim chance of overnight sensation. Wikipedia.com, yahoo.com, pinterest.com, craigslist.org… you name it. All offering huge amounts of free to the end consumer.

The success of the internet is based on free, runs on free, and is ruled by free. Because that’s what it typically takes to get popularity – and then once you have popularity, you can turn it into revenue.

This is because visibility is the name of the game – and if you don’t do something outstanding, you’re just another thing in the sea of 1.5 billion websites.



However it doesn’t only work for big web sites. The concept holds true all the way down the wire: Even if you have a small web site you can still profit enormously by applying techniques which capitalize properly on giving stuff away for free.

It’s practically mandatory nowadays if you want high traffic (unless you are prepared to buy it).

Not everyone has realized this. People still struggle away, trying to get traffic to visit their web sites – without offering users much of a special reason to stop by.

When the secret of free dawned on me, it was like the coin dropping, “the great aha”, the grand realization I had been looking for all the time. Giving things away for free generates massive brand awareness, traffic, trust and popularity all at the same time.

The Psychology behind Free

Humans evolved in a material world – where objects of all kinds are of finite supply. If I have an apple and I give it to my friend, then I have no apple. We humans are still “hard wired” from our evolutionary phase as tribal hunter-gatherers – meaning that people are afraid to give stuff away for free because they are told by both their instincts and their training to hold on tightly to what they have. They fear that if they give it all away for free, they will have nothing left for themselves.

However digital products and services can be given away a billion times and still owned – meaning that the game is completely different.

The old rules go out of the window.

As hunter-gatherers, we are also hard-wired to seek approval from our peer group by being providers – meaning that we are literally programmed to share our most exciting discoveries with our tribe. By bringing value to them, we gain status. It is this that has caused the “addictiveness” of Facebook. It taps into our primal drives and (collectively) we literally can’t help ourselves. We hit the “share” button.

Once you understand these two points of human psychology, and get how this game works, you can use it to tremendous advantage. It is almost an unbreakable rule that by giving the most, you will rise to the top of the pile.
On some deep level, whether instinctively or through marketing psychology training, the folks at “the big web sites” have grasped this. The internet offered them a platform which was ideally suited to the kinds of products they were offering, and the kinds of strategies they were unveiling. They created businesses that were fully able to take advantage of the new conditions. And they did it better than the competition.

You’ve probably heard the old saying: “A hundred percent of nothing is nothing.” In other words, if you charge a high fee for everyone that comes through the door, barely anyone will come through the door. And you will have no money. However, if you entice people through the door with highly desirable free offers, you create a flood of potential customers. Traffic. And from this flood, a small percentage may buy a product, a few more will recommend it to their friends, and also – importantly – others will want to pay you for access to your flood.

One percent of a million is ten thousand: And ten thousand is infinitely better than a hundred percent of nothing.

In the modern world, more than ever before, you have to give something away to get something. It’s the old “loss leader” concept – on steroids. The internet is entirely suited to this business model – because you can give away digitally downloadable products… and still have them to give away again.

Let’s be clear – this is business, not charity. It has only a certain amount to do with generosity. It is ultimately about strategy, and common sense. Your free products give your potential customers an opportunity to sample your wares at full bandwidth, as it were – and to come to their own conclusions, at their leisure, about the value and quality of your brand, paid products or services.

By giving something away sensational for free you have an opportunity to attract new customers, develop a positive reputation and create a relationship of trust. You are practically forcing people to like you.

It’s a weird paradox: You need to be win-win, or you lose.

Create Your Giveaway Vault

Having an easily accessible archive of free stuff gives you a tremendous marketing tool you can utilize in almost any situation. People love free stuff. They are not likely to be offended if you offer them stuff for free; many will be delighted; whereas in many situations selling is considered socially inappropriate, giving seldom is. Give them the free stuff first; and use this to introduce them to your work. Let the free stuff sell the paid-for stuff – by demonstrating generosity, trustworthiness and expertise.

These items, typically, take the form of digitally downloadable content available from a web site (which enables you to give them away again and again without manufacturing / duplication costs), apps or even platforms that create opportunity for the users.

Go Big

What’s the BIGGEST thing that you can possibly afford to give away free? If it doesn’t hurt a bit, you probably didn’t go big enough. 🙂

You have to go big. This is because there is so much stuff out there, that unless you outdo the competition, you will simply be buried. You have to impress, you have to cause the “wow!” reaction.

My first ever successful website, that I created in around 2008, gave away free iPhone ringtones. There was no catch, no signup, no bait-and-switch – there were simply around 40 “cool and unusual” ringtones I created myself (from my days as a music producer), that people could just help themselves to!

The site wasn’t selling any products. It was literally just a download page of free ringtones. It was around a week’s work and study to set up, in addition to all the time it took to create and record the music in the first place.

I did a small amount of link building, and the page took off. Because it was ‘the real deal’ in a space where most of the sites offering ‘free’ ringtones came with some form of ‘bait and switch’, my site started getting recommendations and links from others. Before long, I hit around #5 in Google for the phrase “free iphone ringtones” – and started getting around 600-700 visitors per day. At that point, I started making decent ad revenue, and other ringtone companies started contacting me out of the blue asking if they could buy ad space on the site.

I was soon offered a 4-figure sum for the site and I took the money, because I needed it at the time.

The more valuable your free giveaway, the more of a feeding frenzy it will cause. Go big – and do something that others aren’t doing – otherwise it’s a waste of time.

So there you are… scratching your head, thinking “How can I come up with a great free product that doesn’t cost much to produce and give away; runs like clockwork when the system is set up; and is going to drive people wild with desire?”

Use your imagination. What do people want? What would you want. What would you absolutely love to be able to have for free? What would get you so excited that you would tell all of your friends that they simply have to go to this web site, or venue, or any other kind of location – and immediately and help themselves to the free goodies that are there? Think in superlatives and harness the power of the returns (web traffic, names added to your email list, new fans) to your profit.

The “Tipping Point”

I discovered that there was a kind of magic tipping point – at which people started to do my marketing for me. Once the giveaway hits a certain point in size or quality where it triggers the “Wow look what I’ve found” reaction – you’ve arrived.

I learned to adopt the idea that no-one cares about your web site. Nobody cares. Just assume that. There are over 1.5 Billion websites out there. To all intents and purposes, people have unlimited options – more than they could ever hope to visit. Most websites in fact will never be visited by most people. The media channels are jammed, and people barely have time to click. You have to stand out from the competition, fast; otherwise – who cares?

The web sites that have made me the most money have all been those where I didn’t sell anything at all – I just gave it all away, and then put ads on the pages! Of course, I still had to do much page optimization and target niches where there were people doing a lot of searches for those items – but when people found them, and realized that my sites really were giving them away totally free without any kind of hook, people started linking to them. And those links were ones that sent good traffic – because they usually came with recommendations. They were natural. I was still startled when it hit me that of all my ideas, the ones making the most money were the ones where I gave away the most for free, first. It really did work with uncanny accuracy in that way.

Sometimes, there’s no better form of marketing than customer enthusiasm. And the nature of the internet is perfectly suited to this – because a) it allows you to give things away free and still own them and b) the spread of news is more rapid than any other spread of information has ever been.

How To Apply This To An Offline Business

Let’s pick a semi-random example: The Artist or Craftsperson.

Many Artists have spent their lives mastering their craft; and almost no time studying marketing. Therefore, they end up with brilliant products which they (no disrespect) sometimes don’t really know how to sell. And they often dislike Marketers… those phoneys who don’t make anything “real”…

Internet Marketers, on the other hand, spend their lives studying and mastering the art of marketing. Not only that, but they tend to hang out in forums with other Marketers 😉 Therefore they end up with a stack of fabulous marketing, but often the only real product they have to try to sell you…. is more marketing!!

Product and Marketing are the two essential components of any business venture. In almost all cases your enterprise must have both, in good measure. Although there are rare exceptions to this rule – individuals or companies whose strength in one of these two attributes is so advanced that they can get away with the lack of the other. But it is an unfortunate truth that the uncommon examples of great success among these types mislead too many people.

So, if you are an Artist or Craftsperson desiring massive business growth, and you do not wish to give away your masterworks for free (and why should you?), you need to create another type of product or service or something that can be given away. The easier it is to produce and give away, the better. And the more desirable it is, the better.

Here’s an amazing example: Woodworker Ana White “went big” with the free giveaway method – and gave away 500 free furniture design plans. She combined this with a personal touch (her own personal and inspiring story) and her site’s popularity exploded. She generated nearly 3 million page views per month… all from giving stuff away.

If your trade is woodwork, you could create a photo showcase of all your best work and post it to Pinterest. You could write a series of articles, or an eBook on woodwork; on how to look after and sharpen your tools; how to design a workshop; how to select, purchase, look after or restore furniture; how to select timber from the wood yard; how to prevent timber from warping; which tropical hardwoods are “environmentally unsustainable”; which items of furniture might be good long-term investments; ways to spot quality woodwork… and then offer these as free downloads from your web site of from any other location that would be delighted to offer good free advice as a gift.

Make sure the free downloads are relevant, and refer users back to your web site. Then, find innovative ways to give them away – demonstrating your expertise to a new audience on a large scale.
Can you see how, once you get into the mindset, there are endless possibilities? There are also countless ways to monetize your business. You could rent out your workshop or machinery. You could teach masterclasses or workshops on woodworking. And there are a million other products that you could possibly offer, related or otherwise. You have far more skills and special knowledge than you realize. It’s time to recognize and leverage those abilities in order to get yourself known.

We must all adapt and survive. To do so is one of humanity’s greatest strengths. So learn the new rules of the game, play it with finesse and skill, play fair and honestly, and play to WIN.

Some essential rules

1) MAKE YOUR FREE PRODUCT(S) GOOD!
Don’t fake it. The world is inundated with crappy products, and second rate free gifts that have little or no real value. I detest this stuff for two reasons. A) Because it’s drivel, foisted upon you as if it were of value, obfuscating with its lurid, cheap flashing lights, and obscuring your view of the good stuff that is out there. And B) Because giving away inferior products is INEFFECTIVE anyway as a business strategy!! Think about it. If your free stuff is garbage, what sort of opinion do people form of you? Simple. That your expensive stuff is garbage too! The converse is also true: If your free stuff is white-hot, then people will naturally infer that “This person is white-hot” – and therefore they will conclude that your expensive stuff is cut from at the very least, the same cloth as your free stuff, if not finer. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Don’t give away garbage. Please. The world is too full of it already and we have all had enough. And your reputation is everything. Put some effort in and use your free gifts to develop your reputation, not to ruin it – because long term relationships, ultimately, are of far more value in business than fly-by-night, sleight-of-hand sales.

Not only this, but if your free products are incredible, people will share their exciting discoveries with their friends! This concept is one aspect of the form of marketing that has acquired the rather unfortunate name of viral marketing. Viral marketing is not some sort of disease, but is possibly the best form of marketing there is. You want your work to be so good that it advertises itself.

2) INCORPORATE FREE INTO A DEEPER STRATEGY

There is of course more to it than simply giving things away. The strategy of giving away for free needs to be incorporated into a greater overall marketing campaign. Giving things away is like planting seeds – you still need to be able to harvest them:

a) Give something unusual that stands out, gets attention, gets people talking, generates popularity, creates fans and makes friends… and is of course directly relevant.

b) Position yourself well, so as to be able to harvest the leads that are generated by your free offer (web traffic, add names to your email list, new fans). For example – make your free product refer back to the place where people can a) get more free products and b) view your “for sale” products.

c) Make the best of the opportunity to up sell.

An example from the world of music: With the advent of the information age and the “digitalization” of music, suddenly consumers were easily able to download and copy huge amounts of music for free. For the musician, this was a hammer blow: Suddenly they couldn’t sell some of their best products very easily any more, using the old channels. And ironically, just at the moment when it first became a realistic possibility for the musician to craft their own album at home in their own studio and achieve decent results, the traditional means to sell such an album was literally pulled out from under their feet. Looked at in a certain light, it’s a sad tale. iTunes has helped somewhat, but many talented recording artists couldn’t survive such sudden changes and have drifted into other careers.

The important piece is that there are truly just as many opportunities for success as there always have been – if not more! This really is true – so please don’t ever buy into the idea that all is lost.

All is only lost if you are unable or unwilling to embrace change. You have to get smart and creative if you are going to find the new opportunities, and be ready to do things differently.

I learned this the hard way trying to give away mp3s of music. There is now so much free music out there that people don’t even have time to listen to some unknown piece of music to decide whether they are even interested in it.

However, others have managed to achieve tremendous success using free music. The classic example is that of Trent Reznor – who made a high six figure sum from an album while simultaneously giving it away for free. Check it out:

http://arstechnica.com/uncategorized/2008/03/reznor-makes-750000-even-when-the-music-is-free/

One of Trent Reznor’s great stratagems was to give away USB thumb drives full of music at concerts. Although mp3s might be disposable, a thumb drive is still a nice free gift – and gave him the opportunity to “one up” the standard free giveaway. He took the opportunity to demonstrate massive value – both with generosity and with free mp3s of the music – and was then in a prime position to up sell.

Reznor proved that even if you give the music itself away free, you can still upsell. He demonstrated unique insight into the mind of the fan, and recognized that a diehard music fan is also very often a collector. He understood how to appeal to that instinct. And shifted from the song being the product to the song being the marketing used to sell the products.

There are endless opportunities to create desirable products. Rare photographs, exclusive, limited edition signed discs, rare live recordings, signature artwork, audio and video remix competitions, limited edition clothing, VIP concert tickets… forums to interact with other fans… Collectors items should be highly desirable… more lavishly illustrated / designed / produced than the regular stuff… and confer some sort of “elite fan status” which loyal fans can purchase: Both a) to display their pride in their band etc; and b) with the added incentive of possible profit further down the road. Fans love this sort of stuff – so focus on them and make them feel special.

Observing Successful Business Models: Can You Spot The Free Giveaway Even When They are Selling Products?

One fascinating realization that I had, was that even businesses that sell products, and don’t appear to give anything away for free, actually give an incredible amount for free – and not only this, but the ones who focus on giving the most away for free, before they try to get the customer to part with cash, often do the best.
Let’s take an example of a cafe.

Now of course the cafe doesn’t provide free food and drinks! But by creating the kind of space where people want to be, the cafe is able to sell food and drink.
And so the sensible cafe owner concentrates on giving them something that they want first:

– A social spot in a convenient location where they can hang out, and maybe meet people of a similar type, or gather with friends.
– Comfy chairs to chill out in.

– A place to work on their laptop, maybe free wireless internet.

– An air conditioned environment, cool in summer, warm in winter.

– A buzzing atmosphere with cool people, interesting art, music and other things.A giant noticeboard where they can promote their local services or learn about other things that are happening.

It’s a strong social phenomenon that people very often simply want to go where other people go. They want to go where the vibe is. And so, venue owners that have great success tend to concentrate first on enticing as many people through the door as possible, through providing the greatest value. Of course, the free stuff has to come first, and the buzz has to build, before the scene can unfold and people will want to be there. But once it reaches a certain point, there is a “snowball effect” and a tipping point. People talk. Once you have the crowd, you will make the money. If you try to squeeze them too hard, you won’t get the crowd.

It’s interesting to note that even in a scenario where it doesn’t appear that there is something being given for free first – there almost always is; can you see it, and see how it works?

There are of course some businesses where it is not so necessary to have something free – and these are typically those where people need highly skilled or urgent professional services.

Otherwise, where people are acting from choice rather than urgent need, the principle is the same both offline and online. Go to Alexa ; pick out ten web sites from the top 100 – as randomly as you can ; study their business model, and see if you can deduce their free strategy. Look at their strengths and weaknesses, and then see if you can come up with some new ideas for your business. I bet you can! Do it!

In certain cases, for example amazon.com – it may not be immediately obvious what their free thing is – but look a little closer. I can assure you that it is there. Amazon’s free giveaways were their massive online database, powerful previewing system, customer reviews, and fast, easy, secure transaction processing; allowing one to browse easily through a virtual library possibly bigger than any other in the world. You see? Their free gift was the “ultimate book shopping interface.” You have to do a bit of lateral thinking. Amazon of course doesn’t give their books away for free – but the free features on their website are so powerful that millions shop there – because of the convenience that it affords. The technology driving their databases has some serious horsepower. I imagine it must have cost a fortune to implement. But, what a free gift for the consumer! it worked – big time.

(Important note: Please don’t forget – inventions, trademarks and copyright. Certain things and ideas cannot be duplicated because they are patented, copyrighted or are trade marks. If you are ever in doubt, read the Terms Of Service – and seek professional / legal advice where appropriate. Certain things, for example the concept of having a social networking site, appear not to have been trademarked. However others, such as Amazon’s “one click” shopping system have been patented and cannot legally be copied. It’s always best to be sure.)

Some Examples Of Good Free Gifts

Information products are always a good free gift: they can be cheap to produce, and can often be distributed fast, without costs other than the basics of the information age: A computer, an internet connection and a web site. You don’t even necessarily need a web site, if you are clever and do your homework – but in many cases it’s best to get one.
Here are some good examples of ideas for information products: CDs, posters, online videos, reviews, databases, informative articles and ebooks, blogs, e-zines, pdfs, how-to guides, research statistics, spreadsheets, software utilities / apps / widgets, plug-ins, free web space, online directories, search engines, discussion forums.

So, Where Is All This Going?

If more and more people are giving more and more stuff away for free, what’s going to happen?

Well, it’s definitely going to drive some people out of business. It already has done – take a look at the music industry! But then of course, some people are going to get richer. That’s the nature of trends – things change. But where old economies die, new ones spring up. It will always be a competitive world.

One thing that will happen is that people will be forced to give away greater and greater things, if they are going to stay in the game.

Some people are going to run flat-out into big problems – such as when a competitor launches a free product which is superior to their for-sale product. What are they going to do?

It’s also worth observing that these days you don’t necessarily have to be the best – and you can do extremely well simply by being more visible than the competition.
Adapt and survive. Get stronger, wiser, faster, more useful, more helpful, more competitive – stay ahead of the curve, and stay flexible…

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.” – Arie P. De Geus, former coordinator, group planning, Royal Dutch/Shell

FREE - The Ultimate Secret Of Making Money Online
Graphic – Makingwealth.info. Image src – Pixabay (PD)

(This is Eben Pagan’s famous “Moving the Free line” seminar – 11 minutes)




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