How to build a loyal audience without being salesy or cheesy Part II

A wonderful metric for experts and marketers is the Will You Be Missed? factor if you cease communicating with your audience. For nearly all businesses, ceasing communications with their prospects and customers means certain death. But what if you had been consistent for, say, 2 years with good content and regular communications. Then, you took 2 weeks off, not messaging your customers or audience for those 2 weeks. Would they notice? Would they miss you? Would they wonder what happened to you? Would they try to contact you? Would they care? Yes, these are qualitative questions, but these questions matter. These questions delve into the emotional aspects of your relationships with your customers and prospects. How good have you been to them? How cool have you been to them? What have you done for them lately? How good have your offers been? How good have your podcasts been? How good has your free stuff been? How good have your trainings been? How many of their problems have you solved for them? These are more Net Promoter Score / scaling questions, but they are important for any business. With all of the options people have today — especially free stuff and entertainment-oriented, on-demand stuff — you have to be worthy of sticking out in the best possible fashion. You have to bend over backwards giving great stuff to people. You’ve got to blow them away with your stuff. As Jeffrey Gitomer says, you’ve got to WOW! them. If you can’t or won’t, they’ll go someplace else. Will you be missed? Will they wonder what happened?

You’ve got to WOW! them.

— Jeffrey Gitomer

Think what valuable thing can you give away for free? What problem of theirs can you solve upfront with no expectation of compensation? What can they try first before they buy and then love it so much that they cannot help but own? Prospects must see the value in the thing first or else they won’t take you up on the offer.

Think of the last software as a service you bought. Did you get a free trial of the software first? Did you get to test drive its features? Upload some data? Let you really get to know it first before they asked for your credit card? Most SAAS companies’ business model is exactly this: trial first and then get you into a subscription for the software. This allows you to see and feel what the software is like first, perhaps even build the habit to using it regularly. The end user gets the value of using its features without paying for it first. They get the opportunity to understand it before paying. The SAAS company is giving value first without the immediate expectation of compensation. This model of marketing resonates with prospects in both B2B and B2C contexts.

What product or service are you so confident in that you’d give away 90 days of it for free?

Apple gives away 90 days worth of its music service for free. 90 days. You can build a habit of listening to music in Apple Music in 90 days. That is plenty of time to get you addicted to the streaming service. They have everything in there. They give you time to get used to using it. Apple makes it as easy as possible to use it. And then once you’re good and loving it, they bill you $11 / month on a recurring basis for using it. If you’re like most people, you don’t even notice it. 90 days for free. You cancel any time within those first 90 days and owe nothing. That’s giving big value upfront without expectation. That’s confidence in your value prop.

As a lead-into his larger training, Brendon Bruchard gives away a free hour of his four-hour New Year’s Day training where he covers a broad swath of personal development topics. This gives those who may not know Brendon the opportunity to learn about him and his teaching styles. It also gives Brendon the opportunity to attract new customers to his business he hasn’t added to his recurring monthly membership program called High Performance Monthly. Everyone can get an hour of training from him for free to test drive him, see what he’s like, see whether he’s for them, etc. Since not all trainers resonate with everyone, this is important. Like in most things, people want to see whether there’s a fit first before they buy. Give them that opportunity.

Sometimes the most valuable thing you give away isn’t perceived as the most valuable thing by your marketplace. Russell Brunson went through this with his initial Clickfunnels software release. As he is known, he gave away a ton of free stuff to complement Clickfunnels: PDFs, cheat sheets, webinars, trainings, split test results, etc. Only initial launches were so-so. He kept at it, kept testing different offers, until one resonated with his audience. It turned out that his market preferred they be charged for a $1,000 high level, advanced training and then be given six months of Clickfunnels access for free, with the subscription kicking in after six months of use. For whatever reason this is the offer that resonated with Russell’s audience. You never know until you test, test, test. So, be sure to test, test, test your offers. What is the most valuable thing your marketplace wants you to give away for free? Yes, you can ask them. But it is better to test them. Remember as Russell Brunson says: people vote with their credit cards.

Evernote, the “remember everything” app, gives away nearly all of its features for free to anyone. Test-driving the app is an open field. Getting to know it and use it is easy. There are tons of resources available to help make a habit of using it for everything from basic note-taking to uploading new contacts and synching them to Outlook to editing and presenting office apps to chatting with colleagues. Much of this is freely available to anyone. Evernote only charges you for specific features that are considered most efficient. Other than that, the software is yours to use for free for as long as you wish. Evernote as a company has been highly successful using this model, which is freemium: free upfront with additional features they’ll eventually charge for. That’s the beauty of the freemium model — you give away a ton upfront with no expectation of immediate return. Get people used to using your service. Get them to build it into their habits. Get them to attend a few free trainings of yours. And then charge them down the road on a recurring basis.

People need to have confidence in the thing they’re about to buy before they buy or else they usually won’t buy. This is why Social Proof is so powerful in marketing and selling. This is also why the try-before-you-buy model is so prevalent and successful. The more you can give upfront, the better. Give them everything upfront if you can. Then, give them training to support it. Then, give them supplemental cheat sheets and other materials to support it. Give them best practices. Give them a community of users and active, like-minded people.

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I’m a sales, marketing and tech Pro who creates content designed to help people solve problems and shift perspectives.

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