One of the big hurdles I see with online marketing, especially social media and content marketing, is giving away information for free.
I totally understand.
When I started out blogging it was easy to share any and all information bouncing around in my head. I’d learn something cool at work and would be eager to share the knowledge with others on a blog.
But let’s say you’re more established. You’ve been selling something that at least partly includes your knowledge and experience. Why would you want to give away some or all of that information for free?
If you’re struggling with online marketing because you don’t want to share information for free then let’s dive a little deeper into the topic and see if we can find a solution to this challenge.
The Best Info Is The Most In Demand
This is pretty obvious, but it’s worth pointing out in this case.
You certainly don’t need to give away your information for free. There are other forms of marketing. But with social media marketing, content marketing and other online marketing channels and even offline channels, people expect the bests information.
Let’s say you’re a dentist. You could share some tips that are just okay. Some people will probably appreciate it, but the big audiences are looking for the best of the best information. If you share your really great tips then people will pay attention.
This dentist example is a good one. We’ll come back to that later…
Share Your “Throwaway” Info
Something I see in business is the idea of throwaway information. I used to work for a footwear cataloger and I was talking to an SEO service one day and they offered to give us some tips to improve our website from an SEO point of view. He referred to those tips as “throwaway” information. They were knowledgeable in the area, but it wasn’t exactly related to the service they provided.
That conversation sparked a little light bulb in my head.
Many of us have throwaway information. Over the course of our career we become knowledgeable in all kinds of areas related to what we do and sell. We don’t really think about it, but some of that information can be really valuable to our target customers.
You could sell it as part of the business or you could provide that throwaway info for free to attract more of your target customers to your business.
Let’s say you’re a dentist with your own practice. You learn about hiring good people, managing good people and more. You could share information about running a business and it might especially attract startup businesses. From that attention you could work out packages for those businesses so they encourage their employees to go to your practice.
“Basic” Doesn’t Mean Worthless
Here’s another thing I’ve come across. Some marketers and business owners and managers think that “basic” information is not something their customers are looking for.
I’ve seen the opposite in many instances.
You’re very involved in your business and industry. You’re an expert. But that doesn’t mean that your customers are experts. It doesn’t mean that they’re not smart. They’re experts in their industry or area of life, but they’re not necessarily experts in your industry.
That means that what you consider to be “basic” could actually be very meaningful and valuable for your customers.
I’ve heard the comment in a situation similar to the dentist example. The person was worried that his colleagues would think he wasn’t the smartest in his field. I asked him if he was selling to his colleagues. He said that he wasn’t.
You’re not selling to your colleagues and competitors. You’re selling to your customers. Focus on the information that is most valuable to them. Some can be more basic and some can be expert-level where you really show your expertise, but don’t overlook the basic stuff.
The dentist, for example, might think that a flossing tip is basic, but to a dental customer the tip could be really valuable.
Share Your Best Tips
Let’s get back to the original idea of the post and that’s how it’s worthwhile to share your best tips.
“Best” is a unique term. As we just looked at in the previous point, sometimes your best information if the basic information. And sometimes it’s the really expert-type stuff.
A great way to know if something is the best as far as a tip or information is to look for the questions your customers are really asking the most often. Then provide the answer that best answers the question or best helps the person with the challenge they’re having.
The answer might be simple. The answer might require more insight and depth.
Identify the common questions and provide the best information. That will lead to success whatever the channel whether it’s social media or a blog or video or whatever.
One key to the whole question thing is that you want to focus mostly on questions your target customers are asking before they know you exist. A question like, “What is your price?” is a good question to answer on your selling pages, but not always in a place like social media or a blog post.
Let’s say you’re a dentist and you see on a forum or in Facebook comments of a competitor or something like that people keep asking questions about flossing. That’s a good indication of a question you can answer with your best answer.
People Like Tips, But Still Pay For Work
Here’s a little reminder depending on your business.
People like tips. They often implement things on their own, but people are still willing to pay for work.
Let’s take snow shoveling. It’s snowing outside my window right now here in Wisconsin so I think this is a good example…
I could go online today and look for snow shoveling tips. Maybe ways to get it done faster. I know I probably don’t shovel in the most efficient way. I could learn something that works really well and is valuable that I could use, but that still doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look for someone to pay to shovel the driveway for me.
So if you have a snow shoveling business don’t be afraid to share snow shoveling tips. People will still pay you to do the actual work.
It’s definitely a hurdle to think that you shouldn’t share your best information and knowledge. You want to keep that and charge for it, but there are some really good reasons to share your best stuff. That’s how you attract people and build an audience and in most instances it really doesn’t affect your business in any negative way.