There’s a lot of perceived value in giving away paid products.
This is something that happens a lot in Internet Marketing circles. Seems like every holiday has a JV giveaway going on, where everyone who had a product gives it away if you’ll join their list. I’m waiting for the Arbor Day giveaway, myself.
Just giving away a free ebook or piece of software isn’t all that exciting, though. What’s exciting is when you give away something that you had previously charged money for. That creates perceived value in your customers. They think, “Other people have paid $49.95 for this product, and here I can get it for free. Where do I sign up?”
It’s an excellent technique with very little downside.
The secret, from the Internet Marketer’s perspective, is to offer for free products that are aging. Sure, people paid $49.95 for the product when it was new, but these days sales have dwindled to a trickle, and the product is just going to fade into obscurity. By giving it away, the marketer boosts his own image as a generous person, creates in his new “customers” perceived value for his product (and by association, for new products he may create), and builds a list of people interested in the sorts of products he creates.
How long you wait before you start giving a product away depends on how well it’s still selling. Some gurus will turn around and give away a product fairly soon after the product launch. These people make their money on product launches. After that they get a better return on investment by giving you their product in exchange for you buying the next big product during launch through their link.
This came to the top of my mind today because I received an email from sitepoint.com, that they’ve giving away their Photoshop Anthology. It’s an ebook filled with tips and techniques on using Photoshop. Frankly, I doubt it can do anything for me, being the graphics ignoramus that I am, but perhaps some of the rest of you can benefit from it.
From sitepoint’s perspective, this is a great loss leader. They get you to read their ebook, and if you benefit from it you’re more likely to purchase some of their others.