Many businesses use “free stuff” as a marketing strategy.
Content marketing is based on free stuff. There’s nothing wrong with it. It works, as long as you’re making money.
Ten times as many online publications are charging for their content this year, as were charging last year. They know that you can’t keep giving stuff away if you want to stay in business.
However, as Chris Garrett points out, too many bloggers get stuck in the free model and never make money. In How to Get Paid for Free he says:
“A lot of bloggers don’t even get that far – we get into the free rut. You do have to break out of it eventually. It’s a comfort zone. Blogging is hard work, and only ever giving stuff away can lead your audience to assume you are not in business at all. When you finally do start to suggest they pay money you can get a lot of push back. “
Know your business strategy BEFORE you use the “free” model
As I said on my Just Write a Book Blog:
Loss-leading products are a favorite way for supermarkets to make sales. Loss leaders work for book sales too.
Chances are you won’t have Amazon helping you out, but you can certainly use this strategy. The key is to have sufficient books in the marketplace. You offer one or two books at a lower price, hoping that readers will give you a try. Not every reader will love your style. However, you will develop a loyal readership — a platform. Those loyal readers are the key to your success.
I’ve seen many authors on Amazon giving their one and only ebook away for free, using KDP Select. I always wonder WHY they would do that. What’s the point? Wait until you’re selling several ebooks before you start giving them away.
Know how you’ll make money before you use the “free” strategy
If you want to start an online business and use the content marketing strategy, know how you’ll make money, and when you’ll start charging. Once it’s time to charge money, start charging.