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“Free” ebooks and guides are always praised by a website’s visitors. The gesture of offering something for free seems like a genuine offer to visitors. But businesses are strategically using these free offers for marketing.
This practice is a great way to:
- Gather email addresses
Email is a direct contact to a highly targeted lead, and this can often lead to future sales and nurturing of the lead.
When “free” items are given away, it allows for:
Free guides and books are a subtle form of lead generation, and this can be very profitable for a business. How? These books may include:
- Affiliate links
- Call-to-actions to contact the company
- Recommendations of the company’s products or services
Readers that benefitted from the product may also decide to share the free offer, or these readers may link back to the business’ site.
All of these benefits result in one thing: lead generation. If a business is able to get a visitor to download a free item, it’s possible to convert the reader in the process.
Vogelzang Law does this well by offering a free guide while capturing the person’s:
- Phone number
- Email address
This opens up the possibility of cold calling the individual or sending them a highly targeted email.
Businesses need to find ways to build their authority and expertise. Even if a business is a skilled entity, if no one has ever heard of them before, they may never make a sale. That’s a major problem when a business doesn’t have any authority.
These free publications can be used for authority building.
Authoring an eBook or guide can help boost a small business owner’s credibility. When a business owner has authority and credibility, it’s easier to:
- Ask for funding
- Justify their prices
- Convert leads
Businesses thrive on exposure, and this is one of the key reasons that free books and guides are given away. Businesses, especially when they’re first forming, need to have as much exposure as they can possibly receive.
Free eBooks and guides help get the business’ name out to the public and their target audience.
These free items can also be used to:
- Build a Facebook presence
- Offer free items to Twitter followers
Businesses see all of these free items as assets that they own, and with these assets, the business has a form of continual promotion and exposure.
People always want something for free.
Social media requires an audience, or else the business owner is just talking to themselves. Free items are assets, as we mentioned previously, and these assets can be used to build an audience. Not only can a business capture the downloader’s contact information, but the business can also request that:
- Downloaders follow the business on Facebook
- Downloaders follow the business on Twitter
- Downloaders follow the business on Instagram
Build an audience with free content and offer. That’s what smart business owners are doing in today’s digital world. As the business’ audience grows, it’s easier to generate leads, make sales and promote new offers.
Ryan Yarbrough is a small business consultant, speaker, and the manager at Davis Financial Services, a small business consulting firm.