This question comes up a lot when I’m working with my clients. Usually it comes in the form of:
“I’m tired of giving it away for free, I need to make money.”
This is absolutely correct. You should without a doubt be making money off of your food / fitness / wellness business. If you are not making money, you will not have the freedom or energy to offer the very best value to your customers.
That being said, there are a few ways that giving away free services and products can help you build a paying client base:
1. Build your digital community (a.k.a. potential clients). Effective mediums for achieving this goal may include: webinars, blog content, and e-books.
2. Make in-person connections (which tend to be more powerful than digital connections). Effective mediums to achieve this goal may include: panel discussions, tasting events, mini fitness classes, lectures, and workshops.
3. Give potential clients a taste of your awesome service / product. Effective mediums to achieve this goal may include: consultations, classes, lectures and product samples. (I would be cautious of giving away free services, anecdotally these folks can be tough to convert into full paying clients).
Once you have wooed your potential clients in the door with a free product or service, it is super important that you engage with them effectively.
Don’t forget, the end goal is to increase revenue and/ or number of clients. Make sure all of your efforts are driving towards this goal. Click here to read more about goal-focused marketing.
Here are 5 things you can do to help convert free offerings into clients:
1. Make it mini. Instead of giving away your entire curriculum or program, offer an abbreviated version.
2. Give them a delicious taste. But, make sure to give enough that people are getting value – this will leave your potential clients hungry for more.
3. Funnel. Make sure your sales funnel is set up and that at the end of your free class / webinar / consultation there is a clear path to enrollment for the full price version.
4. Charge a small fee. In my experience, charging a small fee does two things: 1) makes people more accountable to show up 2) weeds out people who are just in it for the free stuff. (This works best for in-person events, I wouldn’t charge for digital products in this context).
5. Evaluate. Constantly evaluate your marketing efforts. How many clients have you received from free classes or consults? How does that compare to clients coming in from other channels? If it’s working, then expand your efforts. If not, then look to build elsewhere. Don’t worry so much about people who may be taking advantage and focus instead on the real potential clients and how to best nurture them through your sales funnel.
Giving away your valuable product for free can feel really uncomfortable, but you really do have to give in order to receive.
Have you had success marketing your small business by offering free services or products? I'd love to hear about your wins and learnings here.
Still confused about how to use free services or products to build your healthy brand? Click here to set up a free 30-minute coaching session and make sure to sign up for weekly email marketing tips for food, fitness and wellness professionals.
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