free signYou have heard it before, no doubt: people buy from those they know, like and trust—often referred to as the “KLT factor” for short. This is something that needs to be established over time, and the way to begin the process is to capture website visitors’ contact information so you can begin building a relationship with them.

With so many people requesting your email address on the internet, it’s not enough anymore to simply offer a newsletter in exchange for the information—and it’s certainly not enough to ask for the information without providing anything in return.

Give them an incentive

Enter the “free taste.” It’s not likely a person new to your website is going to buy on the first visit, especially a product or service with a higher price point. (In fact, it is often said that a person needs to see your message 7 to 12 times before they decide to buy from you.) What they are really looking for is a risk-free introduction to what your business is all about, and whether it can help solve their most pressing problems. This free offering can take on many forms, but here are some of the most common:

An eCourse: This works best when you use an autoresponder service such as Constant Contact or AWeber. You can write up 5 to 10 lessons and have them go out over a period of a week or two. The lessons do not have to be long, they just need to convey your expertise on a topic your target market is eager to learn about.

A free report: Again, no need to go super in-depth with this—one idea is to write up a list of recommended resources in your niche. You could also compile a list of “top ten tips” or create a checklist for how to do something. Simply turn it into a PDF download when you’re done.

An audio file: If you’d rather speak than write, you can record an audio for others to download. Many people would rather listen than read, so this can be an enticing option for your website visitors.

Continue the relationship

Along with this complimentary offering, people will still receive your newsletter or e-zine. You simply tell them that for signing up they will get a subscription to it along with their free gift. A newsletter is what will continue to build and strengthen your relationship with your subscribers over time. If you write a blog, it can work the same way-provide consistent, good content for the people who subscribe to your RSS feed. This way, when you make those paid offers down the road, they will be much more likely to take you up on it.

The bottom line? Valuable content + familiarity breeds more sales!

Do you incorporate a free offering into your marketing?  What questions do you have about this technique?

Photo credit: jking89

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