Scared you’re giving away too much?

The hungry online world we live in demands information.

Scared you’re giving away too much?Shareable, informative, and entertaining information is the daily sustenance we all crave online.

And we give it away, all too willingly.

But how much is too much?

I’ve received emails from people who are scared to publish their prices online, or too scared to provide detailed information about their products or services. Why?

They are scared that their competition will copy them or know what they do.

Well – if your competition don’t know what you do, and charge, then neither do your customers. {click to tweet}

Another thing is the freebie trap – this online mantra that you need to give away a free eBook to get people to sign up to your email list. Or even better – a free online course that took months to prepare that no one will complete anyway (it was free right?)

Well – converting off the back of “free” is hard {click to tweet}

You’ve started off a relationship with someone who didn’t even buy you a drink and now you want them to take you out for a posh dinner. Aint happening, sorry gorgeous.

Then there is the idea that you need to share your warts and all story online. If relevant to your business then go for it.

But please for the love of your own dignity do not create a promo that involves begging, or includes a “poor me” song. Sharing the expense of your lawyers fees, dissolved marriage and struggles in order to close a sale is unnecessary and very short sighted.

If you are scared you’re giving away too much then you might be.

  • If it’s related to your business and will help your customers decide quickly that they want to buy from you then make sure you give as much information as possible.
  • If what you are giving away could potentially be sold or is likely to hurt your reputation in the long run then don’t do it.

Whatever you give away, know why you are doing it.

  • Does it fit into your plan?
  • Does it make sense for your business?
  • Does it instill confidence in your potential client that you are the right choice?

If yes, then sing it loud and proud gorgeous!

31 Responses to Scared you’re giving away too much?

  1. I’ve been reading a ton of blog posts and articles lately that really, really emphasize the free e-book strategy, and this is the first post I’ve come across that takes a step back and underscores that this isn’t a hard and fast RULE — that each business should do what makes sense for its situation and goals. How refreshing! Thanks, as always, for the perspective.

    • Hey Sarah,

      Yes, it’s all about knowing what is right for your business. I have always had this opinion on the issue of free and been shot down for it a few times but using my offline experience and applying it online hasn’t failed me (or my clients) yet!

  2. Hi Ameena

    I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t stopped by in a long while but will you forgive me if I said I still love you? 🙂 (I’ve been on a totally un-fun and really scary medical roller coaster ride with one of my youngest daughters. Happy to say she’s finally out of the woods)

    After reading your post …
    I want to have T-shirts silk screened with the slogan: “Ameena Falchetto says FREE is NOT a Business Model!”

    I’ve missed you!

    • 🙂 Hi Melanie, great to see you here again. Sorry to hear about your daughter, I am happy to hear she is on the mend.

      I love the t-shirt idea … it would have to have one of my pin-up girls on it too!

  3. I’ve always loved how you think about the “freebie trap!”. In the last few months I’ve been apart of a company that exploded in growth then crashed and burned because they got eaten a live by the “freebie trap.” Like you talk about, people know they are going to need to pay, so let them pay and see value in what you are giving them, vs devaluing it right out of the gate by giving it away.

    Great stuff Ameena!

  4. “You’ve started off a relationship with someone who didn’t even buy you a drink and now you want them to take you out for a posh dinner. Aint happening, sorry gorgeous.” FAVE LINE in this article 😀 LOVE YOU AMEENA FALCHETTO!!!! 😀 You rock so much it’s ridiculous. AND i’m about to vote for your mommy blog right now 😉

  5. Love this subject. Hit the nail right on the head for me today.

    Poor me songs yuk! And as for begging: Those that ask, don’t get any. Those that don’t ask, don’t want any. And God helps those, who help themselves. I’ve always found (with Bank managers especially) that if you can prove you dont need money, trade or business, individuals will bend over backwards to give it to you.

    Good work girlfriend!

    • Thanks Sally! No one wants to get into a relationship with someone who’s desperate and giving it away before you even asked … so true that the minute you say you don’t want something the sales pitches begin … no one is going to pursue you to give you a freebie!

  6. Hi Ameena,

    On the money as always – I’ve just made added a new item to the top of my priority list.

    To remodel my main CTA away from freemium.

    Thanks for your insights.

  7. I must say that just the other day I had to stop and think about this ‘ give away’ blogging model that is now getting to be quite prolific here in Cape Town. There are three or four really well known lifestyle bloggers who in recent times had ‘ 30day’ give aways i.e – a give away every day for thirty days. From where I am sitting, that looks like a great deal of hard work and admin. As an entrant I have to like the FB pages of people I don’t really want to have regular feeds from. Just to qualify! My question is this : – other than your sponsors and advertisers – do you as a blogger really benefit? If they do, then I am missing out on something here. Please, don’t take it that we have not had the odd give away – we have. But it is about 3 or 4 times a year. is it just me, but something does not sit well with this kinda model with me. Then I know of another local mommy blogger, whose desire it is to make a business and a career ( something like decor8) out her blog. She has a very regular stream of give aways and competitions on her blog and her FB page. And when I met her once, she did mention to me that she get approached all the time by people making offerings for her to post on her blog. She was a bit confused at the time and not really knowing where to draw the line. I can’t do that – my blog is something that takes a great deal of time and time equals money! The sponsor of the give away gets a free ride, visibility etc, with no other effort than to take one item of stock off their shelves. And maybe, just maybe they will sign up as a regular advertiser or sponsor on the blog! Ameena – is this just me? Am I missing the mark here?

    • Thanks for the post Ameena! Insightful as always. I am struggling with this very topic right now. I created a free 4-day ecourse for people who subscribe to my list. The trouble is, open rates are only at 50%. I know this isn’t bad in general, but if it were a paid course, rates would be much higher! There is valuable info in this course and sometimes when people have stuff given to them, they just don’t take the time to read the material or do the work…

      Hopefully my list will continue to grow organically and those who need my assistance will be the 50% who read my content 🙂

      • Hi Anna,

        Thanks for sharing your experience – the open rate seems pretty good but you are right – if it had been paid for the open rate would most likely be a lot higher.

        Rather than look at the opt-ins you should maybe be looking at how the course is converting to paid customers. That will give you the insight into whether or not it is really working.

    • Hi Rose,

      It totally comes down to your goals and your business model. I know a lot of bloggers who do reviews and giveaways and they get paid to review, they get free stuff and often, they have advertising on their site. I know for many FMCGs giveaways and sampling are a great way to get more eyeballs on their products but there is a fine line. What does not make sense is to constantly be giving away free things when you are the product if that makes sense.
      There is no right answer as to whether or not giveaways are good or bad – it comes down to why you are blogging and what the goal is.

  8. Today I learned that it’s possible to give away “too much” without even realizing it. A client refused to work with me based on my (totally safe for work) profile picture. I guess it goes to show that the levels of authenticity can be too high for some customers. Or to continue your metaphor, some people don’t want to take a weirdo out at all. O.o

  9. I know sometimes as a blogger we feel that we are taken advantage of. I am always ready to help my readers and give them information but I am not so comfortable doing so for companies and people who are trying to market their product or using my blogs for their personal gain. That’s is something that annoys me a lot.

  10. Hi Ameeena,
    I know there is so much debate out there about this topic. I am of the mind set that what works for one person and one type of business, may not work for another. Sure you can use things as a guide but ultimately you need to test those things out on your own business to see how it works out.

  11. Hi Ameena,

    I like the ‘How much is too much?’ discussion. I have recently offered my e-Book for free. The main reason is that I believe in giving values and sharing. I also believe that if I were to offer a paid product in future, I need to ‘reveal’ more of me to let others know who I am.

    Why should someone pay to get our products if they are not convinced that we have something of great value to offer?

    In Network Marketing, the nature of the business model is to enrol AND mentor new team members. Giving away will bring back the ‘gain’ in another form – relationship building and possibly a committed team member in future. My conclusion is that in this profession, giving is a great idea!

    Thanks, Ammeena!

    Viola The Business Mum

    • Hi Viola,

      Thanks for sharing your experience! I do think you can give enough to be demonstrative of who you are and what you can do without giving a product away … basically I think if you could sell something then maybe you should – we can’t sell blog posts or social media content but an ebook can be sold … but yes, it depends on your business model and what you are hoping to achieve – if the giving gets you to your end goal then great!

  12. Hi Ameena,

    I love sharing information over on my blog and I definitely give away a lot of free stuff. But I also think that one size doesn’t fit all. Just like with weight loss, everyone is different so they can’t follow the same plan for everyone. It just doesn’t work.

    Figure out who you are catering to and then adjust accordingly. If it works great but if not, back to the drawing board.

    Great share and oh so very very true.

    Hey, enjoy your week okay!

    ~Adrienne

  13. “Loud, Proud & Gorgeous!” OMG – that’s sooo going on my FB timeline one day! Love it!

    Thank you Ameena for a very interesting article! Absolutely, the best marketers can appear to give away tons – but it’s really just smoke and mirrors… they give away just enough to add value and not so much you feel you’ve got all they have to give.

    So hard when you’re starting out to get this right. Thanks!

    ~Robin~

    • Awesome Robin! Great to hear you enjoyed that and yes to “smoke and mirrors” – I get seriously peeved at the number of early adopters who spread the word that it’s easy if you just do x,y and z when their success is something you can’t cheat, called TIME!

  14. Hi Ameena!

    I know that feeling of being scared of sharing information with other people. This was when I first got started with online marketing over 5 years ago and since then I have learned a ton. You article was a reminder of how I first started and how far I have gotten with my business 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

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