Rethink your marketing with this unorthodox concept. I was born in London, my mom was born in India, my dad was born in Uganda. When I was a baby, my mom and dad wanted to move to America. So, we ended up making our way to sunny California. Now in India, my mom had a teaching degree, but here in America, her degree was not valid. So she had to go back to college and take some classes, so she could be a teacher. And once she did that, she still struggled to get a job. People just didn’t want to hire her, no matter how hard she tried. So what did my mom do? Give up? no. She went to the local preschools and said, hey, I’ll teach for free for six months. And if you like me, hire me. If not, you don’t have to hire me. You get me for free for six months.
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One trend that I’ve seen over the years, is marketing is continually getting more and more expensive. This is also partly because companies figured out, how to generate more revenue per customer. So over time, they’re willing to spend more money on marketing.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do marketing. You should do it because it can be extremely profitable. But another cost effective alternative strategy, that you can use is giving away something for free of value. This can help boost your conversion rate, and help you bring down your cost to acquire a customer, even though you’re eating the cost, of giving away something for free.
Let me give you an example of how I use this strategy. In 2017, I bought a company called Ubersuggest for $120,000. I removed the ads, improved the tool, and gave it away for free. A portion of those visitors were interested in our ad agency services. So we sold them on marketing services. It was an effective strategy that my ad agency, Neil Patel Digital used, and it helped us grow, to be the 21st fastest growing company in the United States, according to Inc Magazine. You can also run the same approach with a physical product, like an e-commerce site.
Have you ever heard of the company Orabrush? They would give away a free tongue cleaner. You just had to pay for shipping. They would then make their money, by upselling you on things like toothbrushes, mouthwash, and even toothpaste. This strategy worked so well, that they got acquired by a company called Dentek, which then got acquired by a larger company owned by GTCR, which is a private equity company, that has roughly $29 billion under management. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a physical product, or a service, there are things that you can offer for free. The key with this strategy are a few things.
First, whatever you offer for free, must have perceived value. For example, if I were offering pens for free, it wouldn’t have much value, because you can find pens anywhere. You can probably find them on the ground, on the street. The higher the perceived value, the better it will work.
Second, what you are giving away for free, can’t be too expensive for you. If you’re giving away a free Tesla, for example, that’s expensive. It’s hard to make the economics work. Tesla car costs over $30,000. It would take you forever to make that money back, and you probably wouldn’t make it back. The lower the cost, the better.
Third, you need something bigger to sell those people on. For example, if you’re giving away something for free, that costs you a dollar, you ideally want to sell something, that can make you hundreds of dollars, if not thousands. At Ubersuggest, we give away software for free, that most people charge $20 for or a $100. Sure, we have some paid plans, but majority of the software’s for free. We upsell people to consulting services. Consulting services can cost millions of dollars a year. That’s how we make our money back. You see how it’s worth giving away, something really affordable for cheap, so you can focus on something bigger?
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