How to Give Away Free Stuff on Your Web Site


OK, I admit it. I like snappy titles. A better title to this article would be,“Getting People to Buy Your Services Via The Pyramid Approach.” But that's so dry I have to go get a glass of water. Excuse me.

Ahh…that's better.

If you're a service provider–a doctor, lawyer, Web designer, horse whisperer, whatever–you may face dozens, hundreds or even thousands of competitors vying for a limited number of prospective clients.

One of the ways to stand out–to differentiate your services–is to establish yourself as an expert. You can use the pyramid approach to provide a compelling reason to your prospects to choose you over your competitors.

Layer 1: Completely Free Stuff

Completely free stuff is just that; it's free, no strings attached. It's available to anyone who visits your Web site just by clicking on a link. There are no hoops to jump through. It's hoopless, completely hoopless.

This layer contains items often found in a resources section: articles, newsletter archives, a blog, a calculator, or anything that represents your area of expertise and passion.

Don't scrimp here. This is your opportunity to make a good first impression; you don't get a second chance. Poor material will turn off prospects and send them on their way.

Layer 2: Protected Free Stuff

Bring out the hoops and attach the strings. While there's still no financial cost for the material in this layer, visitors trade their contact information to get at it.

Examples include email newsletters (since an email address is required) and articles that are available only after completing a contact form.

Just by adding this extra step, you have increased the perceived value of your material. In addition, you now have the opportunity to continue marketing to these prospects…assuming you asked their permission during the signup.

Consider building a subscriber- or member-only area (free to join) that offers discounts on products you sell to round out your offerings here.

Layer 3: Make a Product of Your Service

Most service providers can only take on a limited number of clients. A massage therapist only has two hands and so many hours in the day. A massage studio is limited by the size of its staff and its geographic reach.

By creating a product that capitalizes on your specialty, however, you can escape this hourly equation. By writing a book, an e-book, or creating any product that can be sold online, you can greatly expand your customer base.

You can sell the same product over and over, with very little impact on your time after the product has been created. Writing a book–even an e-book–is often seen the quickest route to establishing yourself as an expert.

You can now do business with people who might not be able to afford your services, are too far away from your offices, or want to sample before they buy. It's also a great way to get people to move to the final layer, consultation.

Layer 4: Consultation

The ultimate goal here is to turn prospects into clients. Doctors require patients, lawyers require litigants, efficiency experts require inefficient businesses, and Web developers need people with no or underachieving Web sites.

Choosing a service provider can be a difficult decision for anyone, especially because there are rarely tangible products to compare and contrast. Your goal is to make the decision easier by demonstrating your expertise throughout every layer.

Build a strong foundation in your service pyramid and you create a compelling reason for prospects to choose you over your competition.

Want to learn more about turning prospects into clients? Contact us!

–Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media