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What Does Your Free Content Cost You Anyway?

Business Technology | November 27, 2014

Didn’t your dad tell you that nothing in life is ever really truly free? That’s never more true than when it comes to marketing. There is always; I say again always, a cost to be paid, whether it is dollars and cents or your valuable time.

So how can you get a accurate picture of the real world costs of a free marketing promotion? First is by understanding the hard costs you are incurring to create and ship, and then by factoring in your time.

What varieties of “free” are we talking about here?

The most obvious places we see free work its way into our businesses is with the act of gathering email addresses. Offering a freebie is standard operating procedure, and won’t be changing any time soon. Most of the time we are offered a free ebook, report, video series, e-course, webinar or email series in exchange for our email address and other contact information.

What you need to realize is that there are costs associated with the creation of these freebies. Let’s take a look at several of the actual hard costs you’ll be forced to deal with in the creation of your freebies.

  • Creating the content – Someone has got to write, film, record whatever content you are producing. Unless that is totally you, you’ll pay for this.
  • Designing the squeeze page or landing page – There are some great softwares out there, but they cost as well. And we know how much designers cost.
  • Production costs and shipping – If you need to manufacture a hard product, chances are you’ll need to pay to get it where it’s going.
  • Marketing funnel hard costs – Email autoresponders, setup costs for technical aspects, webinar charges. GoToWebinar for example, charges at the bare minimum $99 a month for their lowest plan, which allows only 100 attendees. (to be fair, there are other lower-priced services)
  • Advertising – Are you going to be taking out ads for this freebie in order to attract the widest possible audience?

Using a freebie, or freemium content as people are referring to them these days, is still an excellent way to build a list or audience for your products and services. We just thought you should be aware you’ll need to count the cost of “free” when producing your freebie.


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