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Should you really give away your content ?
Perhaps you should get someting in return ?

12th December 2001

Hmmmm... Thought provoking stuff!

Think about it for a minute. On the information superhighway you can get almost any kind of information you want for free.

But do you really want to give everything you have (your time, your creations) away for free? Expecting nothing in return.

The answer is probably "no". Afterall, you do want to make money on the internet, don't you?

Or are you there providing your time and your creations as a humanitarian effort to benefit all of mankind, really expecting nothing in return?

So many on the internet are doing just that. But why?

The smart marketers don't.

They expect a little something in return.

Let's take a look at what they're doing and how you can benefit.

1. Build An Email Opt-In List Of Your Own

Are you missing out on this great opportunity? You really shouldn't if you're expecting to make money online.

Building the list is best done by offering a free newsletter or report or article or tutorial or even ebook (again there's that "free" word).

But let's examine this a little more closely. Am I really advocating that you give away your freebie for free?

Well, yes. And then again, no.

What should you expect out of the deal?

Well, hopefully an email address for your opt-in list.

Why is this important?

To maintain contact, of course.

You're developing a customer base where you can continue to promote your products and services and even make some friends and some sales. It's called a "warm market".

As those on your list get to know you and to value the information you provide them, they start to trust you. Your recommendations and suggestions mean something to them. So when you return with a suggestion for a great product or service, chances are they will purchase from you instead of from someone else!

Once you have their name and email address, when you contact them by email again, always be sure to provide a way to be removed from your list if they really don't want to be there. You certainly don't want to develop a reputation as a "spammer" with all the negatives that go with that label. Only those who really want to be there (on an opt-in list) should be there and/or stay there.

2. Get The Person's Name As Well

Getting the email address should be a minimum requirement. It's smart to maybe even get their first name as well. Why?

Which sounds more personal to you in an email message? "Dear Bill," Or "Hi there!"

"Hi there!" sounds like the beginning of a "spam" message, doesn't it?

"Dear Bill," on the other hand, sounds like the beginnings of a letter to a dear friend.

Get their first name, and then you can tailor your correspondence to address them by name, adding a personal touch. (You should have or get software that will allow you to do this.)

So why would someone spend hours and hours producing an e-book or a tutorial and give it away for free--nothing expected in return?

Smart marketers don't.

They want your email address at a minimum. Some, even want much, much more, as you may have already noticed (like a long form to fill out).

But then again, you want enough information to develop a personal contact, but not so much as to overwhelm your contact by asking for detailed personal information so as to drive them away!

Most people feel comfortable giving an email address. Some feel comfortable giving a first name. A few feel comfortable giving first and last names. But ask for their birth date or yearly income and . . . you've probably lost them unless they really, really, really want what you have to offer.

3. Ask For Email Address . . . Then Give Away a Freebie

If you have a great tutorial or an ebook you've produced, give it away for free.

But, expect an email address in return.


You might create a small form where the person can enter their email address. Then when they push the little "submit" button, the web page with the free information opens up. (Ask your programmer or technical person how to do this, if you're not sure.)

You may want a second box as well (one for the email address and the second where they can enter their first name--or even full name). But remember, some aren't as willing to give their first name. You may lose a few this way. Or worse, you may get bogus first names.

4. An Autoresponder May Be A Better Choice

Perhaps the best way to offer your freebie may be by autoresponder.

That way your contact has to give an email address in order to get the free information you're providing--by sending you an email, then your autoresponder automatically sends an email reply (your freebie).

An added benefit to using an autoresponder is that most of the time you'll likely get the person's first and last name as well since most of the time email addresses look like this: "Jim Jensen" .

And, for some reason, when sending email, people aren't as concerned about giving their names. Maybe it's because there are less steps involved (no messy forms to fill out). They don't have to stop and wonder about how the information they're giving will be used.

Remember, "free" is a great and powerful word. It will bring your web site traffic. It will get you noticed.

Use it well! But don't give everything away for free, expecting nothing in return.

Expect to make a contact. Expect to make a friend or two. Maybe even expect to make a contact, a friend and a sale! But make sure you at least get their email address--if you can!

Copyright © 2000 Ron Knowlton, All Rights Reserved.

Author Information:
Ron Knowlton

Ron Knowlton is a former journalist and the founding editor at He can help you succeed on the internet! Subscribe to the Soaring Profits Success Ezine! A free weekly internet marketing course by email!

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