Today we are continuing this 2nd week of posts on the issue of how complementary therapists (and others in the helping professions) can get comfortable with the process of earning a fair wage for what they do and what they offer the world.
Let’s talk today about Freemium Marketing.
This is a type of marketing where you expand your reach, you make more money, through giving stuff away for free.
Which sounds counter-intuitive, I know… but stay with me here.
Because some of the richest internet marketing guys have made millions through successfully applying the freemium marketing principle to their online business… and in many ways, it is one of the best fits for complementary therapists as well.
Online marketing gurus, like Frank Kern, follow a freemium approach in their marketing because through giving material / information away for free to potential customers they earn their potential customer’s goodwill. Although they may not buy from you now, these potential customers are much more inclined to remember you, and so buy from you at a later date. In essence, that is the whole freemium marketing approach… and it is an approach which is very applicable to service industries.
There is something about human beings because, apart from the odd psychopath, we’re programmed to be social, and to be fair and grateful… and so when someone gives us something for free, we are inclined to remember the act, remember them, and so do business with them in the future (as long as the social interaction remains clean).
That’s why a company often gives a free gift to a potential customer just for making an inquiry about their products and services (i.e. life insurance comes to mind).
This is the foundation upon which the freemium marketing approach is built.
And because it is very Heart-centred approach, if done in the right way, it fits well with the philosophy of most complementary therapists.
And so I suggest it may be something you want to incorporate into your own business and marketing approach…
Just as long as we iron out a few things first:
1) By all means give away some things… but don’t give away everything!
Because many therapists are Heart-centred, there is a tendency to give away everything… which rather undermines the whole aim of earning a living.
So if this is an issue undermining you, then my suggestion is to stick to a fixed amount… work out 3 or 4 things maximum which will form part of your freemium package, and then stick to it. Give away no more then that number… and no more… everything else you charge for.
2) Give away something of real value… but don’t give away your top value.
One of the mistakes which people mistake is they give away something which has no real value in the eyes of their potential customers, and so they end up being seen as cheap and the customer feels cheated… and this is something you definitely don’t want to do.
If you are going to give something away, it has to be something which your customers will value. The freemium marketing approach will only work if what you are giving away has a real and solid perceived real value to them.
But neither would I personally give away a technique or information which is your highest value. I would keep that reserved for the clients who pay. So you need to find something which has value, but not your highest value.
3) Try to give away information… and not always time (unless doing so will pay-off big time later for you).
A lot of aromatherapists / masseurs / reflexologists are locked into the belief that, for them, freemium marketing must mean some kind of free, 15 minute taster session… which means they must invest 15 minutes of their time in every “potential” customer.
And this may indeed be a good investment of time and energy, part of their overall marketing strategy… and it may pay-off later with a lot of referrals.
But it is also useful to consider what information can be given away for free, especially over the internet in digital form.
For example, a masseur may give out a free PDF containing free information about how a person may correct postural imbalances.
An aromatherapist may give a free PDF containing free information about which essential oils are useful to help someone sleep or relax.
A reflexologist may give a free PDF containing free information about what conditions / imbalances are best for a reflexology treatment, along with case studies drawn from their own clinic (with permission obviously).
When you free your imagination… you can usually find numerous ways to find suitable information which can be provided free and in a digital form… and so it is not always about giving away your time.
4) Finally… video again.
Freemium marketing sits well with small video presentations… because with freemium marketing you are creating a perceived obligation in your potential clients… and if they can also see the person they are grateful too, even better. It helps to strengthen the social bonds, which are the foundation of freemium marketing.
(c) Brian Parsons, August 2016