[Note: This article is part 1b of 4 in the series “4 Principles I Never Break As A Practitioner”. In this series I am discussing four of the fundamental principles I never break in running my business. A new article will be added to the site every two or three weeks. You can read the full series and you can check out all the free practitioner resources.]
photo by Kevin Dooley
In part 1a of this series we looked at all of the reasons to give something away for free. In this part we are going to look at what you have to offer for free and type of impact each of these things will have.
There are few things to keep in mind when giving things away for free. We need to look at how much money something will cost us, how much time it will cost us, how many people we are going to reach, and what is the level of impact the give away is going to have.
1) Financial Cost
This is the easiest for figure out. Because my web server is a fixed cost it costs me nothing to offer free digital product (like audio and e-book downloads), articles, and podcasts. When I am doing live presentations or at health fairs I give free instruction and tap along CDs away. Because I already own a computer it costs me very little to produce these CDs. I only need to buy the blank CDs and envelops to put them in. I know a practitioner who gives away books instead of business cards. This cost a few dollars each for the book printing. I have given away $5 gift cards to Starbucks and ColdStone as part of promotions.
With the exception of buying something to give away (like gift cards) everything we give away is going to cost some time. It takes time to write articles, record audios, give a free presentation, and work with someone one-on-one. Often times we don’t think about this as an expense, but we only have limited amount of time each day. When we are giving something away for free we need to consider how much time it is going to cost us.
3) The Number Of People It Is Going To Reach
Everything we give away is going to have different number of people it can reach or will reach. When I put something on line the possible reach is anyone who makes it to my web site. (Note: Just because it can reach millions on -line doesn’t mean it will reach millions.) When I am doing a live demonstration I could be reaching between 10 and 100 people. When I am giving away one-on-one session I am only reaching the person I am working with.
4) Impact Of The Give Away
Not all free things are created equal. The impact of a free audio is going to differ greatly from working with someone one-on-one because the one-on-one session is going to be much more personal than a general weight release audio. Giving a free book to someone is going to have a bigger impact than giving a business card.
So there is not hard and fast rule for how to figure this out, but you going to want to consider all these factors these factors when you are considering the types of giveaways you are going to do. Obviously the higher the cost (time and money) the higher the impact you are going to want. Let take a look at three examples.
It only costs me 1 hour to 90 minutes and no money (minus the coffee I consume while writing it) to create and publish a new article on my web site. The reach of this article can be very large (based on the number of people we are visiting my site). As time passes, the more regular readers I have the larger the reach of each article has. The impact of the article on an individual reader is relatively low.
As an extra bonus the article will live on my site forever. This allows readers to find it through web searches for years to come. As an added bonus, often times I receive a question from a reader about something I have already written about. I can give them a personal and immediate answer to their questions by sending them the link to the article with a note that reads, “Check this link out and let me know what further questions you have on the topic.
The goal of the article is to continue to build my reputation and relationship with my readers. From time to time one of my articles is going to go viral. Someone else will really like the article and share it with their readers expanding the reach, but I have no control over this factor. Also, it might only happen one in every twenty articles.
The cost is relatively low, the impact is relatively low, and the reach is large.
Podcast are very similar to articles with a few exceptions. It costs me about 4 to 5 hours and no money to create one episode of the Tapping/EFT Q and A podcast between setting up the interviews, doing the interviews, creating the webpage, and editing the podcast.
The impact of the podcast is higher than that of an article. First, people hear my voice and feel like they know me more than when they read my stuff helping to build my reputation more.
Second, the podcast market is much less crowded at this point. If you search “EFT” in google my web site isn’t in the first 300 search results. If you search “EFT podcast” I am on the first page of search results. If you search “EFT” in iTunes I am in the first 10 results. I will grant that many fewer people are looking for podcasts than just tapping information, but when I did my survey of readers in March almost 20 percent of respondent said they found my site because of searching in iTunes.
Third, many of the podcasts I do are interviews with other people who have mailing lists and website. Many of the people I have interviewed in the past shared a link to the podcast with their reads helping to spread my site to their readers.
Like articles, I have the benefit of having the podcast on my site for all time allowing people to find them through search engines and I can send people to podcasts when they have a specific question. (I send the link to my podcast on surrogate tapping on average of once a day.)
The cost in time is higher, the impact is higher, and the reach is smaller.
3) Free One-On-One Session
Between setting-up the session, my pre-session prep, post-session follow up, and the session itself it cost me about 1h and 45min to do one-on-one session.
There is another cost with a one-on-one session that we haven’t talked about yet and that is energy. In comparison to content creation it costs me more energy to do a session with a client. There is a limit to the number of sessions that I can do in one day and I need to have certain energy level to start a session. This is just one more cost to keep in mind.
When you work with someone one-on-one you they are not only getting a chance to see how you work but they are also feeling the transformation in their own life. Almost every free session I have done (since creating my free session follow up process) has turned into a testimonial and many of these free sessions have turned into paying clients. Some have turned in to clients whom I have worked with on and off with for years.
The cost in time is high, the impact is very high, and the reach is very small.
No Hard And Fast Rules
As you can see each type of give away has it pluses and minuses based on cost and benefit. I would also recommend that you don’t put all your egg in one basket. I have created a whole portfolio of free things. Some of them are things that I do regularly (articles, podcasts) while other are one-off giveaways for a very specific reason (10 one-on-one session as part of getting people to take the survey).
There is no right or wrong way to do this. And as your practice grows the math of the formula is going to change. As your website traffic grows it costs you less to create an article in compared to the impact.
If it takes me one hour to write an article and 10 people read it then I spend 6 min a person for that article, but if 60 people read it then it only cost me 1 min a person. The cost is the same but impact has improved six fold.
Also, not all strategies are right for all people. I recently interviewed a practitioner who is really good at speaking, but writing an article is like pulling teeth. It is going to cost her very little to give a free presentation, but it is going to be “painful” (her words) to write an article.
It is best to find what works for you, but to do this it is going to cost you. In the beginning it is going to cost you your time (what is often referred to as sweat equity). One of the benefits of giving something away for free is learning people don’t want this particular free offering. The key is to know why you are giving something away and see if you are meeting your goals with that give away.
In part 1c we will look at how I use free information and services in my practice.
Note: Gene enjoys helping new practitioners build their practice and current practitioners grown there practice. Let Gene know if you would like to chat about how he could help your practice today. (And yes, the consultation is free)]