Prime Your Sales with a Freebie/ Lead Magnet Strategy

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Freebies are designed to create interest and intrigue in what you have to offer. It should funnel into your main offer. The purpose of the freebie is to give value and show an aspect of what you have to give to your clients.

Learn how to think about freebies as a system that captures the attention and builds the interest of your ideal clients.

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Questions? Comments? Email me at catherine@catherinevanwert.com

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Show notes

The best freebies I have seen are the ones that are super clear on why it is valuable for the consumer. They aren’t the obvious solutions but ones that provide a little original twist that is your unique take on the solution. The best freebies are the ones that give clarity and that doesn’t mean that you have to have a complicated freebie. In fact, the simpler it is, the better it is for the user. You want to demonstrate a clear benefit to the consumer and you want them to feel like they got a steal. We love free things, that includes your clients. Free things can take one of two routes. They can be so chintzy that they have no staying power or they can feel like they provide just enough value that you have a positive emotional response to it. To me, it’s like a free toy from Chuck E Cheese or a free toy from Chick Fil A.

So whether or not your prospects value the free thing that you provided will partially depend on the quality- does it have an original twist to a solution or provide more clarity- and how you finesse it, which means how you promote it and converse with them about it after they’ve downloaded it.

I don’t believe that people don’t necessarily value free things but I do believe that people will value things more when you help give them reasons to appreciate it. That’s the beginning of the relationship and those people, who can value your freebie and their relationship with you, are the ones that you want to move forward with. You get to help define the relationship with how you treat them after the initial hello of a freebie.

One of the fallacies with freebies is that there is an expectation that they will do all the work for you. Just make a freebie, the client should opt in and then the client should automatically want to work with you. They should book a call immediately in the first email they get in your 3 email follow up sequence. They aren’t doing a very good job at being clients, are they? But honestly, this is not how you would buy. You buy based on like, know and trust. If this is their first exposure to you, then it’s not there yet but it is being created. Being on the other side, as the one who is making offers, doesn’t mean that buying behavior has changed. Take it step by step and investigate what is really happening here.

Just be prepared to give it some time because that is how all relationships work. Sometimes, yes, there is the perception of love at first sight, when everything aligns but that’s because they have been preparing to work with someone just like you and your message hit them at the right time, in the right way. That feels pretty magical, but most of the time there is a lead up to their realization of their needs, so it is a work in progress. Think about how long you waited before you invested in something like a life coaching certification or a mastermind program. If you were just thinking about it, it took some time to decide. If you were ready to go, it was more like love at first sight and so when you found the one that you really wanted to invest in, it felt like a no brainer. 

But freebies are part of your marketing strategy, not sales. They are related but certainly not the same. The idea that you can sell through a single freebie is a set up for disappointment. So, let’s put aside the idea that your freebie will cause someone to want to buy your product and lets look at the relationship between marketing and sales. Marketing is the way that you bring people to you and weed out the misfits from the best fits. And the clearer your marketing is, the better results you will have because you will be increasing the amount of the best possible candidates to your sales process. It’s like getting a referral and when the prospective client comes to you, they are already pretty much a yes because their belief in what you do and what results they can get with you has already been established by the referring person and their results. These consultations are just a way for the prospective client to get to know you, ask their own specific questions and feel good about investing the money.

That is what you want to create in your sales cycle. Who doesn’t want a sales conversation with a prospect to be highly likely to convert? If that is what you want, and I think it is, You will want to be very intentional about your freebies.

There are a lot of different kinds of freebies and the way that I am defining them is any free offer that you have created with the intention of advancing the prospect to a a sale: quizzes, templates, how-to’s, webinars, master classes, coaching calls, etc. I have divided freebies up into 3 levels to demonstrate how they can work in a sales cycle, which is how long or how many interactions it takes for an average prospect to enter your world and purchase.

You see, when we talk about freebies, we generally think of them as a way to build an email list. And of course, they are. But if you think of them as part of a marketing system, then you can make sense of how each freebie has a specific purpose that can work in conjunction with your paid offer and how one freebie will lead to the next freebie and increase the prospects intrigue, interest, and level of commitment when it comes to working with you.

I have what I call Level 1, 2, and 3 freebies because they have different purposes. If you don’t understand and utilize the nuances, then you are missing a real opportunity to take advantage of this. So let’s break it down.

Level 1 freebies are the ones that people refer to as ways to build your email list. They are super introductory, it’s just a quick hello so that you and the prospect can start to orbit each other’s worlds. They are easy to consume. It is not a high commitment level freebie and maybe even not high value in the sense that whatever they get from you is going to significantly change their world upon reading or watching it but it introduces a new thought or way of thinking. It’s just a way to exchange an email address for a simple offer. It’s a snack, not a meal. It’s there to give them the quickest little taste of who you are and what you have to offer. This should help if you are banging your head against the wall  right now, frustrated that the freebie you are working on isn’t enough. Yes it is. Once you realize that it is a level 1 snack, you can stop being so hard on yourself or think that the over delivering you are striving for is missing. It’s not missing, it’s just not the paradigm you want to use in this spot. You just want a simple offer so that you can exchange info and now get to know them better and nurture them through your messaging. You are in a position to get them excited about your Level 2 freebie.

At this point, I’ve had clients are like, ok, so? I created a freebie. People are getting it and then nothing is happening. It seems like freebies are dumb because there is no activity after they get it. I don’t know if they are even downloading it or opening up. It’s just a dumb checklist and I am not going to write them a million emails about it. I guess that didn’t work.

Well, here’s the thing. That is just phase 1. The prospect has only just started their journey with you and it’s way too soon to sabotage or judge what’s happened or what’s not happened. You have entered the beginning phase so some people will stick with you and some people won’t.. Some people will opt out and some people won’t. What is important is that YOU start weeding out who is right for your email list. You are the one in control here. They showed up to the party and you are the host. Now you want to start chatting with them, getting to know them through making different offers that are what you want to provide so that they can decide if they are in the right place or not.

This means that you are creating emails that help to inspire, inform, educate, entertain and guide them in their journey. Each email has a small mission that falls into one of those categories.

What you want to do is make sure that your freebie is relevant and speaking to the person that you want to help, with the issues that you want to help with. Then you want to make sure that your follow up emails to them are relevant to the paid service that you provide.

A lot of people will put a call to action at the end of an email, which is usually to invite them to a call. Is it working? There’s no harm in keeping it there but it could be something that people get immune to looking at so you may want to play with different CTA’s. Also, unless you have a 100% open rate, you are not going to be saying it to every single person every single time. So think about what CTAs would make sense for the freebie that you offered them and how to increase the value they get out of it.

So most people make it to Level 1. What’s after that?

Level 2 freebies are the ones that are subjectively considered higher value items because they require more of a commitment on the prospects end: perhaps it is blank fillable templates that they can utilize, an ecourse they can take, book giveaways where they just pay the shipping, an invitation to a coaching call or a class. This requires them to invest either time or money. Because of this, it is also more of an opportunity for you to interact with them via the follow up sequence. They are getting your freebie on the premise that they will be willing to invest the time but as you know, it’s super easy to forget about something you opted in to get. Your job is to make sure that the prospect understands the value of the freebie through selling it to them in your email series. This is priming the audience to know that there is gold for them and your goal is to make sure they benefit from it. Level two freebies also means that a more robust email follow up series could make sense in further developing their relationship with you, perhaps incorporating some video to increase their familiarity. Level 2 freebies help you to create a pool of people who are ready to take the next step with you.

In this phase, you are selling the benefits of working with a coach and the benefit of having a product that supports their goals each step of the way. But even when you have a freebie like this, just know that the value isn’t always going to be super apparent to the prospect. The value is there but their own realization of need has to be nurtured and developed. This is exactly the process that helps create clients who are ready to buy. Your job is to make sure that they are aware of the value that they could be experiencing and selling them on themselves- not  you- with the ways in which this freebie will decrease their pain and increase their pleasure. That’s why I said sell them on the benefits or working with a coach or the benefits of product that supports their goals and not sell them directly on YOU and YOUR product in this phase. This will help them to be open to coaching and products for this particular issue without shutting their minds down with a mental “no”. You are training them on how to think about their potential and your value and their capabilities rather than ask them to make a buying decision. You don’t want to rush the process because you won’t have had the opportunity to prevent or overcome objections.

You want to look at the long game and not the short term here. It is a relationship.

Level 3 Freebies are the ones that require an exchange of time and interaction. For this freebie, it’s going to be a live interaction. Think webinars, coaching calls, trainings, FB challenges, or master classes. I know that you want as many people as possible to attend but what you really want is to maximize the most likely to buy. You want them to come with the expectation that they will buy, not just be there to get the free stuff.

YOU get to create this because it is your relationship with the prospect. Chances are good if they have been in your sales cycle and received other value from you, that they will not just be there for your free stuff because they already got some of your best work in the previous Level 2 freebie. They know the “what”. You’ve given them the “what”. They just don’t know HOW to apply.

If you aren’t getting sales on the webinars, you may have people that are only at level 1 or 2 in the audience at this point. They may have just entered your sales cycle. People will come into your sales cycle and bounce around. So don’t expect them to neatly come in at level 1 and go through level 2 and 3, especially if you are using ads or people are referring them to a webinar. That level 3 freebie might be the first time they have ever seen you so they will likely go back into the experiences that you are offering them via newsletter, social media, and other engagements before they buy and that does not mean you have failed.

The freebies should flow from one experience to the next higher level. Especially the ones between level 2 and 3. You want level 2 to take care of objections of belief in the product and belief in you. You want the level 3 freebie to take care of the money objections, which won’t be as hard because they came with the expectation and the possibility that they would buy. It should really be about making them feel better about spending the money to invest in your program.

You will want to create more of an expectation to buy through having an audience full of primed prospects. People who love you and are excited to spend time with you and they WANT you to sell them. They have been waiting for you to open the cart and have their credit card in hand. They can only be primed in this way through your previous freebies and interaction.

I believe freebies should be given without attachment or reservation. This is why you can’t worry about giving away too much for free when you are helping them solve problems before they can buy into your solution. That helps anything that you provide go from transactional to transformational. You want the freebie to start the clients’ journey with you and nurture them until they buy or leave.

These freebies are going to be the ones that support the base level understanding or epiphany that can create clients that want to work with your end product. Think about your client’s journey from where they are now to where they would work with you. They are on a journey on that continuum and you want to address their concerns just before they get to you.

Here are some of my favorite freebies:

My own. I have a 90 minute 1:1 sales training that I use to help people with their sales process. I figure people get frustrated with not knowing how to figure out what they are doing wrong and therefore they don’t know how to correct the course. They are thinking If I just had someone who could tell me where I can tweak my consults, I would know what I needed to do differently. When they see that they get real results from what I’ve taught them or if they see that what I gave them was exactly what was missing and they want more, they are a great candidate as a prospective client.

I love Corrine Crabtree’s from Phit n Phat. I mean, who doesn’t? She tells you ALL you need to know about losing weight, done in her style. She gives you the keys to the kingdom and some people go on to lose weight on that alone, but some people just want what she has even more because they crave the community, the support, the additional tools and the proximity to her.

The LCS has free webinars with captivating titles to attract you. They are doing it to fill up their SCS membership. Webinars work and the longer a person is in your funnel, the more they are looking at your resources for a reason to buy.

There are companies like Convertkit, Mailchimp, Hubspot, and Zoom that all have the basic free plans. And you know what that does? That puts them on the radar of the people they are meant to serve. It’s feeding and nurturing. Not everyone will ever need to get more than what the free plan allows and it’s the same for you. Not everyone will need more than your freebie but that’s the only way to find those that will eventually be your people. Your free content and freebies gives you a seat at their table and when they are ready to refer or buy, you are going to be top of mind.

Getting obsessive or upset about people who never buy from you Level 1, 2 or 3 freebies is a waste of time. Stop thinking transactionally and you will open up a whole new world of possibilities to you, which usually means keep going. Keep thinking about what the prospects need and want to know before they can work with you.

There are some coaches who don’t have freebies or do webinars. When you see what you think is an anomaly, consider the common threads. Somehow, they are visible and they are messaging their ideal clients. Sure, it’s not the form of a freebie but it doesn’t always have to be. They may have podcasts, which is like an audio freebie, that causes intrigue and interest. They create visibility to their ideal clients in other ways and they get strong referrals. The common thread here is that the potential clients have heard about them, understand the results that they can create, and believe that they can benefit from their services. All of their potential objections have been quashed enough for them to move forward.

So think about your current freebie. Would you say it’s level 1, 2, or 3? How could you build more intrigue and interest for each experience for your audience and increase their engagement and level of commitment in your sales cycle?

Thanks so much for turning in. Have fun with those freebies!

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