Selling content, whether it’s in a book, CD, DVD, a training program, or content on a blog, a case study, or for a large web site, has the same inherent problem of facing the “moocher.” You write a piece of advertising hoping to hook a buyer by offering little free goodies: an e-Book; a free article; a discount; an item sent through surface mail, the list is
The “moochers” seem to troll the streams of opportunity looking for freebies. And while that’s not illegal, it costs time and resources to others who are truly looking for advice or a product you have.
Moochers come in all sizes. They like free stuff. Never mind that the free DVD on raising worms in your backyard is furthest from their mind. They’re just little hoarders.
The problem is that a lot of people, who were not qualified prospects for those services, would call and demand the free CD anyway. This wasted the time and money it cost to fulfill these requests for that free CD.
This is what happened to Bob Bly, a long-time guru in Direct Marketing for large clients as well as selling his helpful how-to books to entrepreneurs. For him it was worse!
“I resented these freeloaders — big-time. It annoyed the bejeezus out of me, truth be told.
“Why? These moochers knew I offered the free CD to get copywriting clients. They knew they were NOT potential clients — and yet they were telling me to send the CD because, after all, I had advertised it.
“Recently I changed the offer from a physical audio CD to a downloadable PDF e-book, so as to eliminate the expense of fulfilling the requests. But I had the same problem: non-prospects who had no intention of buying my paid services mooching free stuff off me.
“This problem is not unique to me, by the way. It is a universal flaw in the content marketing model:
“Namely, when you offer valuable free content as a bribe to get response, you generate a lot of response from people who want the content only but have no interest in your product or service. So, here is my easy solution for stopping these “content moochers” cold.
“I humbly recommend it to you, too — if you, like me, don’t want to waste time and effort giving away valuable free stuff to people who are not potential customers and never will be. To get my free e-book, you have to type into your browser the URL of a landing page where the book can be downloaded.
“The landing page copy used to say — “fill in this form to get your free e-book” — which to me says anyone and everyone can get it.
“But a few months ago I changed the landing page copy to say — “fill in this form to see if you qualify to receive this free e-book.” This clearly communicates that not everyone is entitled to it.
“You have to qualify. And who decides whether you qualify? I do — based on how you fill in the order form. Importantly, I believe the copy, as worded, frees me from the
obligation to send the e-book to anyone I don’t want to. And I don’t. It’s my call — at my discretion.
“It’s a small thing, but I came to resent the freeloaders who wanted an e-book that regularly sells for $49 for free.
“So I don’t send it to just anyone any more. It’s only for prospects I might consider taking on as clients — (or customers we might sell a book to) — a very small subset of the universe.
“If you are using landing pages to give away free content, and you want to separate qualified leads from freebie seekers, here are a few tips:
** As stated, change “to get” for the phrase “to see if you qualify” — clearly indicating that whether they get the freebie is your call, not theirs.
** Also have a separate check box they can use to request more information on your product or service. If they only check the box for the free content and not for more information on what you sell, they are most likely a bad lead and you can act accordingly. Exceptions? Of course.
** Require them to give you their web site. By clicking on it you can instantly see whether they are a real prospect and a good fit for your services.
** If they disrespect you by filling in fields on the form with nonsense or gibberish — don’t respond or send them a thing.
** Make phone number and e-mail addresses required fields. If the information they fill in is fake, again they are not a good lead.”
Thanks to Bob Bly’s insight, we can tighten up the sales funnel and make more sales through prospects that are actually interested in the products, books, or services we sell.
Now that makes sense.Bob Bly, Copywriter / Consultant and author of over 70 books, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.Bly.com