Don't Fall For All The Free Shit

So I’m sitting here with my homebrew Italian-style latte, sporting my comfy pants ready to tackle the day when I see a Facebook post advertising a program run by a freelancer whose work I’m curious about.

I scroll through her sales page to get a feel for the program (rarely do I buy anything but I like to give a looky-loo) and while I’m nodding my head thanking sweetbabylordjesus that she’s kept it concise and value-focused, saving me from the dreaded long-form 8-page scroll-forever will-it-ever-end gahddamb sales page experience, I nevertheless hit a wall. Where?

The free bonuses

Look, I know free bonuses are supposed to sweeten the deal, but there’s a good way and a not so good way of doing it. Starting with not blinding me with all of your free bonuses, son. It’s not even 9am yet!

The Not So Good Way

I give you this: When you add a bunch of free bonuses (usually from your freelancing friends), it’s not actually adding value, it’s adding overwhelm.

Honestly, when you’ve bought a program with a bunch of free bonus mini-courses attached, how many of those freebies do you actually use/consume? How many of them do you need RIGHT NOW?

It’s a tactic. It’s the same as seeing 30 velour clothes hangers on sale at IKEA for the price of ten. “Sweet deal!” screams your inner closet-organizing fanatic. But do you need 30 hangers right now? Have you just bought 30 new pieces of clothes or taken in a small group of refugees?

No, and you probably don’t need all those freebies either. Not right now. In a world of 5 bazillion things vying for your attention, the last thing you need is a .zip file full of stuff you feel like you should read or learn from so that it doesn’t go to waste. Nah. More time stress = no good.

Let’s quit it with the content-stuffing already and keep it simple.

The Good Way

Here’s the deal: If your program has tons of integrity on it’s own, it should sell itself.

One piece of bonus material that directly relates to the primary product and is immediately implementable is fine. But let’s be more discerning. Let’s be thoughtful about what we offer alongside our programs as well as how we make decisions about our purchases.

I’m not saying I’m a bastion of cautious consumerism. I, sometimes in that moment of need, come really close to an emotional purchase because “that program looks good and one day I’ll need some of those bonus programs.”

Know what I do? I hit up my assistant on Slack and say, “Hey, thinking of getting XYZ to increase my knowledge on blah blah and there’s this free thing and that free thing…” and in about one hot minute she’s able to show me whether or not it’s a good investment. (It’s usually not)

“Yeah, but Heather it’s only $199 for the program PLUS All The Things!” I don’t care. Save up that $199 you blow every second month on stuff you’ll never use and hire a virtual assistant instead to take care of all your non-genius work.

Marketing is powerful. We lose our objectivity when we feel a sense of scarcity. But don’t fall for all that free shit. And don’t try to peddle it either. Rather, create (and consume) work that stands on it’s own.

Smart Tip

Got a few things in mind that you know you need to grow your business? Here’s a way to avoid making an emotional purchase: shortlist exactly what you know you need.

Make a few categories…things like tech, social, design/graphic and…business strategy and then list within those categories programs that you’re been eyeballing for a while. When the time comes to tackle that part of your business education, go and purchase that specific program.

You can also sign up for AppSumo or a similar service and with luck, you’ll get a program you’ve been lusting after on sale.

Now, back to my latte…

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