Business owners and blog owners usually have differing philosophies when it comes to how much information their sites should give away.
For example, blog owners usually produce tons and tons of free content, and they’ll make money… somehow, eventually. Many business owners put up a great site – but their main content is their product descriptions on sales pages.
The blogs fail because no one takes them seriously, or they just don’t offer anything for their dedicated readers to buy. Many business sites fail to live up to their potential because they aren’t able to create the “know, like, and trust” factor with site visitors by giving away free info.
So where’s the happy medium?
Be Like a Blog
It’s natural for many company bigwigs to shudder at the thought of running a blog. They think it will ruin their corporate image and turn their site into a cross between a mommy blogger and a teenage girl’s diary.
But the truth is that it doesn’t have to be a blog, per sé, but rather a series of informative business articles that you post regularly. The potential clients who are interested in your business are looking for a solution. Posting articles on your site can inform your potential customers in a much more thorough and interesting way than a boring product page ever will.
While that’s all great, someone who wants to buy your product will still show up at your site and buy a product. But your blog posts, (oh sorry, “business articles”) will help to build awareness and cultivate relationships with visitors who might not quite be ready to buy. Any business pro can tell you that people do business with people they know, like, and trust. Writing articles can do that, on a large scale, faster than anything else can short of meeting each person individually.
3 Ways to Give Away Killer Free Info
Write Blog Posts or Articles – Hopefully the first part of this article already convinced you that your business site has to be more than a one-shot stab at landing a customer. Your articles should be bringing readers back frequently enough that they begin to trust that your products are the solution to their problem.
Create an eBook – eBooks are wonderful tools for distributing tons of high-value info in one neat and tidy package. Your company can deliver valuable information for 10-30 pages, and then ask for an action (buying a product, opting into an email campaign, etc.). If your content is good enough, then an eBook can be an essential part of your marketing funnel.
Or, you can trade an eBook for their information. It’s a great way to ethically bribe your site visitors to volunteer their information so you can continue to cultivate a business relationship.
Create Informational Videos – Videos can communicate much more than a simple written message. People can see the host’s face, hear the inflection in his voice, and read his body language. For those reasons, videos can create trust much faster than articles can, but the tradeoff is that they are harder to do correctly.
A great example is DocStoc.com. They’re a resource for improving small businesses, and have lots of business articles and videos that provide great free content. The quality of their articles and videos leads visitors to learn about their Premium membership, and that’s how they make money.
What other ways does your business disseminate free information? Let us know!