The amazing value of a free giveaway

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A lot of people are asking why I’m giving away downloads of my book for free, even though it’s on sale at Amazon.

Good question. Let me explain…

Giving away something of value for free is a common model for generating targeted leads, but a lot of people goof it up.

That’s usually because they’re focused on what they want from the lead, and not about providing over-the-top value in the free giveaway.

What’s interesting about this particular process – using an actual book as the lead generator – is that it is the opposite of how most people would think about selling their book.

The majority of authors will write a book with dreams of seeing their book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble with it’s perfect, shiny cover, right there next to other famous books. They’ll sit incognito at the cafe and watch to see if anyone picks it up and study their face for a reaction. And that’s where it ends for most of them. Just like anything else in the world, no marketing = no business. And very few authors learn to think like marketers.

koi tattooEver notice how many books are on the discount rack? And you’re like “Damn, only $4.99 for this big beautiful picture book?”

That’s because nobody gives a damn about “The History of The Koi Fish”. Except for people who own Koi fish.

But for some strange reason those books end up at the bookstore just hoping Koi fish enthusiasts will wander in. But Koi fish owners (and all enthusiasts of everything worth enthusing over) have a new tool for finding books and articles about Koi fish these days… So they go online and get the info they need, probably for free, and maybe buy a book that looks good from Amazon. And if they’re really impressed, perhaps even join the Koi Fish Community (KFC… It’s algae licking good!)

People who love Koi fish, really love Koi fish, but there’s no longer a need to get in the car and drive to the big chain bookstore to get the info. I’m going to miss bookstores as much as anyone (and support the locals best I can) but as a society, we’re no longer willing to deal with, well… society… when we’re seeking out special knowledge about the stuff we love.

I mean, why get in the car and venture out into the scary ol’ world, risk some jerk face stealing the best parking spot out from under you and overpay for a cup of bad coffee on the thin hope that there’s a good book about your favorite subject? When it’s all right there waiting for you on the good ‘ol interwebs.

And so that’s where being an author about a passion subject (a niche subject) becomes about selling passion, rather than selling books.

The value of writing a book in a passion niche (and yes, selling is a passion niche – one of the biggest) is the authority it brings the author. Printing your name on the cover of a book still carries a lot of weight. It shows that you’re willing to step up and make your case as a leading expert on your subject.

Yet, in reality, the book’s true value is as a “lead magnet”. Think of it as welcome mat at the front door… a valuable giveaway to prove to other enthusiasts that you have something new and important to teach them.

If they like you and your material, they’ll use your tips, get results, spread the word and suddenly a society grows around you. You’re selling yourself as much as you are your expertise and advice. Because, as consumers of information, we only stick with the teachers we know, like and trust the most.

So, for the author of a book like mine, it’s all about delivering high value, creating a dialogue and building a community where you help everybody the best you can… knowing full well that only a minority (about 20%) are going to ever pay for your expertise. However they’ll pay you very good money to learn the deeper lessons that the other 80% don’t get.

And of that 20% who pay for the deeper knowledge, another 20% of them will become superfans and invest even more to join your “insiders club” … as much as $10,000 to $25,000 per year. There are several that top $100,000 per year.

So, if you’ve ever wondered why someone would put great effort into writing a book, or putting together a high value report or even a video training and then just give it away for free… now you know. The real money is in the list, the dialogue you have with the people on your list, and the community that grows from it.

It’s tribe building at it’s best. You happily give “dream come true” service to 100% of the people, confident that you’ll do valuable business with the most enthusiastic 20% or less.

Simple math, radical thinking.

So, what could you give away that provides instant value to anyone who gets their hands on it? I bet lots of stuff, if you think about it.

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Kevin Rogers
Kevin Rogers
Kevin Rogers is a stand up comic turned copywriter and now a copy chief. Kevin is also a best-selling author of The 60-Second Sales Hook. He created Copy Chief to bridge the gap between biz owners eager to improve their sales conversions and copywriters eager to show off their hard-won copy chops.

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