you have to give, in order to receive!
The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. - Luke 6:38
One of the best things you can do for your business is giving information away as fast as you can! I see business owners talking about how they're "trying to get clients" all the time. What they're really doing when placing all their focus on "getting clients" is taking time, attention, and money away from those prospective clients. When customers feel like all you care about is what your trying to get from them, they will almost always be less inclined to buy from you.
Ultimately people tend to be most interested in themselves, so they care about what you can do for them. The easiest, fastest, cheapest, and possibly most helpful thing you can do for your clients, is teach them. Give away any knowledge you can, whether its how you make your product or how to use it. The more you give, and the less you ask of them, the more your potential customers will trust you. The more trust you can build over time by giving, the more likely the people consuming your content will be to give back to you when you finally ask for their money.
Now for some people, this can be a tough idea to swallow. It's easy to think you will end up spending all your time giving, and very little time receiving. After all, you started your business to make money. So, why should you listen to some guy on the internet? Well, I'm practicing what I'm preaching right now by giving information to you for free. I've seen and done this myself!
While working on my parent's farm I started reading about using social media as our business's primary marketing outlet. We started taking a small cut from each sale and putting it into our FaceBook ads budget. After a while, we realized we could generate almost as many new Likes (new members of our audience) from a piece of great, shareable content as we did off of our FaceBook ads. Naturally, we started pumping up the amount of content we ran on our page. Initially, we did this purely to save money on ads. However, we rapidly realized that if we made 20 posts giving away value (in the form of information) for every 1 post where we tried to receive value, we saw a huge increase in positive response when we did offer a product for sale. Nowadays that ratio is closer to 100 "Give" posts to 1 "Receive" post. Since stumbling across this rule of marketing and copywriting on my own, I've read many other marketers (like Mitch Miller) talking about giving your content away. I was thrilled to find that I'm not the only one to think this way!
So, if you give all this knowledge away, what's to stop your customers just using it without ever paying you? In short, a perceived lack of time, and a fear of failure no matter how minor. People, as a rule, want to be guided. Trust me! A couple of years ago, my mom started a research project on growing apple trees on our small Texas farm. Part of that project entailed learning to graft fruit trees. So naturally we told our FaceBook followers about what we were learning. We gave away all the resources we used to teach ourselves. Almost immediately we had people begging us to host a grafting class. People who had read as much (and in some cases more) about grafting as we had were willing to pay us to hold their hands, and show them what they already knew.
You might be thinking "That's great, this stuff has worked for you, but why should I think it will work for me?" Well, in 2009 Andy Wier started writing The Martian. He published the book one chapter at a time on his website, for Free! Once finished he posted the full PDF for download, still 100% Free. Pretty quickly people started asking him to make a Kindle version of the book. Happy to help his fans, Andy placed his book on the Kindle store. He found that the minimum price Amazon will allow him to set was $0.99. Within 3 months he had sold 35,000 copies. In those 3 months, he sold more copies than he had given away as a Free download. Now, his book is a New York Times bestseller and a major motion picture. It all started by giving content away. If that's not proof of where giving knowledge away can get you, I don't know what is!
In working and growing up on a farm I had the opportunity to go to grass fed cattle conferences and meet other entrepreneurs. At one of these conferences, an old rancher talked about how we should think of our beef production business. He said "While what you sell at the market is cattle, your business is grass, which happens to grow beef. You should be spending 90% of your time and energy growing the best grass you can, so you can spend the other 10% selling the byproduct of that great grass, awesome beef. Think of yourself as a grass farmer, not a beef farmer". Likewise, as a marketer, I'm in the business of teaching my customers. The amount of time I spend teaching, giving away information, determines how much I get back in the form of sales.
Be a teacher, not a seller.
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